Our local village hall that is run as a charity for and by the community is facing the same dilemna as many others. In order to sustain it financially it has to take hire bookings where it can and so becomes more commercial making it less available to parishioners. Is there any help, advice or funding that could redress the balance.
You can definitely contact the My Community advisers for advice on places to go for this support – although it doesn’t sound like there would be funding for this exact type of project through My Community.
Yes, no easy answers to balancing income and access – but both shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, and a vibrant and well-used community building is clearly more viable than one that isn’t. This is the sort of day to day issue which I’m sure ACRE might have some insight into – Action with Communities in Rural England. They are the network for over 10,000 village halls. Contact them at: http://www.acre.org.uk/contact-us/
However, you might also want to try Community Matters – they offer free advice (normal phone rates apply) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9.30am to 1.00pm 0845 847 4253. If you become a member, they also have a variety of guidance and support documents aimed at village halls.