Sussex Village Hall & Community Building Conferences 2018

Robertsbridge Village Hall and Pulborough Village Hall, recently provided the backdrop for our Sussex Village Hall & Community Building Conferences 2018, events designed to bring everyone involved in community buildings and village halls across Sussex together to network and hear from expert speakers.

Turnout was good at both events, with delegates enjoying a range of presentations and workshops, including:

An overview of Village Halls & Community Buildings in 2018 by AirS CEO Petrina Mayson

Insuring and Managing Risk presented by Phil Barrington and Bozena Bien of Allied Westminster

However, top of the agenda was a presentation by Village Hall’s Consultant and ACRE Trustee, Louise Beaton, who covered the important topic of loneliness and social isolation and key role that Village Halls and Community Buildings help overcome this issue in their communities.

Loneliness is one of the largest health concerns we face, with 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK and 43% of 17 – 25 year olds in one survey saying they are lonely. The problem is reported to be less in rural areas, which perhaps reflects the community spirit, activities and friendships developed at village halls.

Any Questions
This was followed by an Any Questions session, with attendees having the opportunity to pose questions to the panel made up of members of the Sussex Community Buildings Advisory Group (SCBAG): Alan West (Ringmer), Chantal Wilson (Crowborough), Bruce Wallace (Ashington), Sue Lambot (Lurgashall), Susan Homewood (Groombridge), Betty McCann (Ferring) and Louise Beaton.

This proved popular and questions were posed on a range of themes, which were responded to and allowed the sharing of key information.

In the final session, attendees were provided with an opportunity to attend one of the three workshops which ran in parallel. These covered issues that have been identified as priorities based on enquiries received. The workshops included:

  • Effectively managing relationships with other organisations, Louise Beaton, Village Halls Consultant
  • Quality assurance, Simon Kiley, Policy & Communications Manager, Action in rural Sussex
  • User experiences of booking systems, Alan West, Chairman, Ringmer Village Hall

We were also joined by Jamie Reece of Booking Spaces and Bernard Hammick of Hallmaster.

Sponsorship of the event was very kindly provided by Allied Westminster who also provided a stand and were on hand to respond to specific insurance enquiries.

We are very grateful to all of the individuals and volunteers who contributed to the planning and delivery of the event.



“Supporting rural communities in Sussex to be vibrant and diverse places in which to live and work.”