Why join us?
To give something back…to improve where we live…to meet more people…to make people happy…there are a great many reasons to get involved with running our community building. Joining the committee is a great way to get more ‘plugged in’ to village life, especially if you are new to the area. However much or however little time you have, you are very welcome.
You can join us either as a volunteer or a full committee member, i.e a charity trustee. Of course we are all volunteers – charity trustees cannot be paid. Committee members are elected at the March Annual General Meeting, and continue on the committee as long as they wish to do so.
Read more below – or just fill in this slip and email/post it to us to get in touch!
What do committee members do?
We organise the management, maintenance and improvement of the hall, providing an affordable and comfortable venue in this semi-rural area. Everything is well set up, although we are always open to ideas on how to do things better.
We meet up four times a year: 3 evening committee meetings (February, May and October) plus the March Annual General Meeting. The AGM is followed by a very short meeting with only one item on the agenda – to elect the officers from the newly elected committee. Committee meetings are kept to 2 hours maximum and the AGM is usually done within an hour.
Outside meetings we meet and communicate as needed, usually by email. We recognise that real life comes first, and organise ourselves to ensure that there isn’t a rush to do anything. We arrange sub-committees for particular tasks to keep things simple.
What are the main roles?
There are four elected officers within the committee:
- Committee chair: runs the meetings and is the ‘face’ of the charity (note that all trustees have an equal say, there’s no ‘boss’ in the structure – the ultimate team!). There is also a vice-chair.
- Committee secretary: (or operations manager)…sends out meeting agendas, takes and sends out minutes of meetings, acts as general point of contact, deals with the charity commission, the council, the papers etc, handles publicity, manages hall maintenance.
- Booking secretary: keeps the diary and online calendar up to date, takes bookings and provides hiring forms, information and keys to hirers. Bookings now come mostly via a dedicated email address, sometimes by the hall mobile. There’s a hiring policy and all the info you need, as well as lots of committee experience to help. This job is the one where you meet our lovely hirers, and it is also our busiest role so assistants/deputies always welcome – this system is tried and tested as a working job-share.
- Treasurer: monitors the finances, sees that the bills are paid, pays out expenses, pays in cash and payments to the bank. Prepares reports to each meeting, plus the annual accounts for the charity commission. Our accounts are held online. We pay and invoice via online banking wherever possible.
Other committee members are ‘without portfolio’ although we can all change around – and all those roles are flexible. The governing document for our charity mandates a minimum of seven committee members – there’s no maximum. Trustees do come and go due to life events, so there is always space for more people and new ideas. We currently have nine trustees. All roles can be shared. We use dedicated email addresses and are very organised regarding information sharing.
The only donation we seek is your time. The treasurer will reimburse any agreed expenses incurred on production of receipts.
We work hard to communicate properly – we use email a lot now but the phone is still fine! We have held quite a few meetings over zoom too. The idea is that anyone can delegate and split their tasks. Real life comes before the village hall, which means we need to be organised. The more of us there are, the easier it is.
What else needs doing?
General maintenance: weekly fire-alarm check, monthly emergency lighting and first aid kit check (these are already on a monthly rota, join the team). Also people to take on the odd fixes and improvements that are always coming up; either doing them or (more often) arranging quotes for a professional to do them. And letting in said professionals on the day.
Improvements: we fund as much as possible from grants, so the first step is to apply for those once we have decided what needs doing. We then manage the professionals involved to get the works done. Recent projects have included refurbishing the entrance hall, replacing the lighting and our centenary project of solar panels, new heating and much more. For 2023 we’re looking to refurbish the toilets.
Publicity: posting on our social media pages (mainly on our 400+ follower facebook page) keeping the website up to date, occasional flyer distribution round the village.
Events: organising, publicising and staffing our annual fete/bazaar (next one 14 October 2023) plus anything else we decide to do.
Website manager: currently done by the secretary. We love our website, but it could be better. Have you got the skills to keep it working but make it smoother?
We pay a cleaner/window cleaner, groundsperson and handyman, plus all the trades we need to fix or improve things. So rest assured that there is no cleaning or gardening rota. Occasionally we need help with tiny jobs, the sort of thing where you simply cannot get tradespeople. Such as this…
What is the ‘ethos’ of the charity?
The hall is and always has been run by volunteers, building on the original committee members who set the place up back in 1922. We are a charity, so nobody gets paid – but everybody gets thanked and appreciated. We’re an open-minded bunch and always up for new ideas.
The original governing document determined that the institute should be run ‘without regard to sex, political or religious opinions’ and we continue to uphold those principles and more. The committee is and needs to be a cross-section of the village. We have people who have lived in the area all their lives, people who have moved here this year or last year, people from all sorts of backgrounds. We are very far from a stagnating committee!
How do I Join?
Trustees are elected at the annual general meeting (coming up – Thursday 16th March 2023, 7pm at the hall). If you are thinking of standing for election, here’s what you need to know:
Trustee eligibility: As the hall is a registered charity, becoming a full committee member means becoming a charity trustee. This allows you to have influence on how the hall is run. For the current structure of the hall charity, trustees must be 18 or over and not disqualified from acting as a charity trustee. Here is the government guidance on being a charity trustee. Here is the one page ‘new trustee brief‘ produced by the Shropshire Rural Charities Council, and here is the declaration that we will ask you to sign.
If you are unwilling or unable to become a trustee, we also welcome volunteers (of course everyone is a volunteer!) Like the trustees, you can do as much or as little as you want – we always have a list of small things that need doing to keep the place looking good and working well. Please note that volunteers cannot influence how the hall is run nor handle finances.
We are well aware of our responsibilities both to the charity and to our hirers, and we have all the required policies in place – you can see them on this page. (Our Financial policy is available on request) We review the policies regularly.
Interested? Present yourself for election at the AGM!! Feel free to get in touch to find out more. Email email@example.com