Opening your community building after lockdown
Covid-19 guidance for community halls and centres
National lockdown announced on 4 January
For more details please see the main Government guidance page. Any changes to the regulations and guidance regarding community buildings will be posted here as soon as possible.
Interim guidance to us from ACRE indicates that these are the key differences between the Tier 4 situation (see below) and the national lockdown we are now in:
- All outdoor sports courts and pitches, and outdoor gym areas have to close.
- Supervised out of school activities for children can only serve children entitled to attend school; i.e. vulnerable children and children of critical workers. The list of critical workers is wider than in the spring 2020 lockdown and now includes, for example, teachers.
- A ban on the sale of alcohol by takeaway or click and collect.
Tier 4 guidance
Click on the link below to download ACRE’s guidance for community buildings in Tier 4. As of 31 December this applies to Portsmouth, Southampton, all of Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight. Most neighbouring areas are also in Tier 4 – except for Wiltshire and Dorset Council areas, which are in Tier 3. To look up which tier your location is in click here.
(Note there is one small mistake – food and all drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) can be sold for takeaway, as per the Businesses and Venues section of the Tier 4 guidance.)
Main ACRE covid-19 information sheet updated
ACRE has also published a new version (no. 8) of its covid-19 information sheet – see below. This reflected the situation on 16 December, based on the tiered system that came in on 2 December. Since then, of course, things have changed and all of Hampshire is now in Tier 4.
In this new version, Sections 2 and 4, and Appendices C, D, J and K have been amended. See the booklet itself for full details and click below to download the appendices in a Zip folder.
A system of tiered restrictions has been operating across England since Wednesday 2 December. Hampshire and the surrounding areas are all in Tier 4, apart from Wiltshire and Dorset (both Tier 3) – for the full picture of what’s allowed visit > Local restriction tiers: what you need to know
The multi-purpose community facilities guidance explains (in section 3c) that there can be more than 6 people in total present from multiple households in a Covid-19 Secure venue, including for hobby and leisure activities. Interaction between the people present must be restricted, though:
In a COVID-19 secure venue or public outdoor place, there can be more than 6 people in total present from multiple households.
In local COVID alert level: Medium (i.e. Tier 1) areas, social interaction and shared activity must be limited to groups of 6.
In local COVID alert level: High (Tier 2), and local COVID alert level: Very High (Tier 3) areas, social interaction and shared activity must be limited to groups of the same household or support bubble.
However, we strongly advise that activities where there is a significant likelihood of groups mixing and socialising (and where it will be difficult to prevent mingling and therefore breaking the law) should not take place in a community facility.
Community buildings in Tier 4 areas must be closed for most activities. See ACRE’s Tier 4 guidance sheet further up the page and the Government guidance.
General guidance for charities
The Charity Commission has a page for guidance on charity meetings, financial issues and other topics.
More information > Charity Commission covid-19 guidance
Financial support for community buildings
The furlough scheme has been extended until the end of April and there is financial support for businesses with premises that have closed or suffered greatly reduced income.
More information > Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough)
District / council suppport
Most community centres and halls have been able to access support from your district / borough council through the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum, as long as you meet the other criteria.
Please email Kevin Sawers or call 01962 857358 if you feel your organisation and premises meet the criteria but your application has been rejected.
(Note – premises outside the rate-paying system, such as places of worship, are not eligible for this scheme. However, premises that have a rateable value but don’t pay rates because their local council applies the full discount are eligible.)
Discretionary support is also available, through the Additional Restrictions Grant – also delivered through district / borough or unitary authorities. This will be of interest to organisations which aren’t eligible for the LRSG scheme noted above, like churches that own (or lease) places of worship. When applying, we suggest you make it clear to your council that your organisation was viable before the pandemic but needs their support to get through the coming weeks.
Government’s guidance for local councils regarding both these schemes:
More information > Lockdown support grants guidance for local councils
With all these schemes, do let us know how you get on – please email Kevin Sawers or call 01962 857358.
This is in addition to the main ACRE guidance booklet (updated on 16 December – see above):
Download > Covid-19 guidance 2020 12 16th
You can download the Zip folder containing sample risk assessments and all the appendices as separate Word files that you can edit yourself.
Download > Covid-19 guidance appendices 2020 12 22nd
In case you need them, here are the PDF versions of the risk assessment documents (Word versions that you can amend are in the Zip folder above):
The ACRE guidance has been updated to reflect the ‘rule of 6’ restriction on social gatherings that came into force on 14 September. It also tidies up various points that changed over the previous month or so.
- NOTE: In appendix E, Special Condition 4 is incorrectly worded (while being correctly stated in the Appendix C sample poster). It should read as follows: “You will make sure that everyone likely to attend your activity or event understands that they MUST NOT DO SO if they or anyone in their household has had Covid-19 symptoms in the last 10 days, and that if they develop symptoms within 48 hours of visiting the premises they MUST use the Test and Trace system to alert others with whom they have been in contact. They must seek a Covid-19 antigen test.” This is because people are infectious to others any time from 2 days before showing symptoms to potentially 10 days from the onset of symptoms – see the Test and Trace guidance
- NEW – financial forecasting template spreadsheets
To help you plan for the future and see what impact the pandemic is likely to have on your organisation’s finances going forward, here are two template spreadsheets you can use:
Financial forecasting template spreadsheets
A visual guide to making community buildings safe
ACRE has got together with architects IF_DO and Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group, to produce a visual guide to making community centres and halls safe.
Visit > News page on ACRE’s website
Visit > Direct link to the guide
It’s great to see Wickham Community Centre being used as a case study in this guide, so thanks to Centre Manager Kate English for her valuable contribution.
Comments, queries, and further support
We gratefully acknowledge ACRE’s tireless work in preparing this guidance document, and all the other resources they supply for community halls and centres.
Please see ‘Specialist resources for community buildings’ for details of these other documents and how to access them. Action Hampshire can help in other ways too – with regular news bulletins and a membership offer.
Please contact Kevin Sawers (by email or on 01962 857358) with any queries. You can also contact Kevin if you would like to join our online discussion forum, where you can raise queries and share ideas with over 170 community hall / centre managers and trustees.
We use the Basecamp system – see this short guide and video for more info.