Village Hall Safeguarding week and what it means for Bedfordshire halls

Next week is Village Hall Safeguarding week and Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) is calling on thousands of village halls across England to make sure policies and procedures are in place to keep everyone safe.

ACRE has been awarded £100k from the National Lottery Community Fund to promote good safeguarding practice to village and community halls throughout England, as part of their campaign for safer village halls.

Why is safeguarding so important?

Unfortunately, we live in a world where abuse, harassment and harm can happen to anyone. It’s not always visible and often not spoken about, The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has more information about what is safeguarding on their website.

How does this affect village halls in Bedfordshire?

Village halls must have the right policies and procedures for safeguarding in their organisations and will need to make sure that all groups and users are aware of them. They must also be reviewed regularly.

These policies need to create a safe and welcoming environment where everyone is respected and valued. It’s important to make sure your organisation is run in a way that actively prevents harm, harassment, bullying, abuse and neglect.

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and every organisation, small group and individual should be aware of their responsibility, in work and society. This means village halls must protect people from harm or abuse and have a responsibility for safeguarding.

What do I need to do?

By law, every charity must safeguard people from harm or abuse, whether they are staff members, volunteers, or other people who come into contact with the organisation through its work, find out more about the Charity Commission Guidance.

NVCO also provide information about to put safeguarding measures in place today, getting started with safeguarding

Safeguarding refers to measures designed to protect the health, wellbeing and human rights of individuals. These measures allow children, young people and adults at risk to live free from abuse, harm and neglect. The Ann Craft Trust explains in their guide, what is my role in safeguarding.

You can also find out more about the safeguarding requirements for your hall by following the links below:

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a tool which contains a step by step guide to help charities in England with safeguarding concern on their website.

The ACRE Village Hall Information Sheet on Safeguarding is available through your Village Hall Advisor, please contact Simon Patterson

BedsRCC will be working with voluntary village hall management committees across Bedfordshire to ensure they have the knowledge and confidence to operate in a safe and welcoming manor for all who work or use their hall.

BedsRCC is a member of the ACRE network.

You can find out more about ACRE’s safeguarding campaign on their website.

Village Hall Safeguarding Week runs from 16-22 November