A DOVERIDGE man has set about becoming a ‘village hall doctor’ to help what he sees as the lifeblood of rural areas.
Tim Scott, a former village hall advisor while working for the Community Council of Staffordshire, used his expertise to help his home village of Doveridge’s own community hub.
He joined the committee of Doveridge Village Hall in 2008 and has spent the last two years as chairman of the committee.
During this time, Doveridge Hall has achieved Hallmark Level 1 accreditation — a nationwide scheme run by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) — and in the last year alone the hall’s bookings have increased by 12 per cent while hiring income has improved by 25 per cent.
Mr Scott said: “Village halls are in many cases part of the lifeblood of a village, providing a central location for residents to come together for a range of purposes.
“Yet in all too many cases, the way they are managed does not parallel their importance within these communities.
“Very often annual budgets are not prepared and understood and little marketing activity is undertaken to raise their awareness.
“The result is falling income which leads to reduced maintenance and inevitably, reduced bookings and so the downward spiral continues.”
Such is Mr Scott’s belief that more can be done to improve the way village halls are managed that he has set up village hall doctor workshops designed to answer the key questions that every management committee of such buildings face.
He said: “Managing a village hall properly, such as understanding its financial position, raising its awareness among local communities and bringing in local people to the management committee with a range of backgrounds, can instantly ensure an awareness of how viable it is and what needs to be done to improve it.
“Encouraging new committee members can also be excellent in bringing new ideas which can often bring an injection of activity and income.”
Mr Scott also spends time on his workshops helping attendees preparing for achieving Hallmark status, which he thinks is vital to help with such things as applying for financial grants.
He believes that his workshops have the ability to make an immediate improvement to the outlook of village halls so much so that he is offering a money back guarantee to those who attend.
The workshops are aimed at those on village hall and community building committees.
Spaces are still available for the first workshop taking place on Saturday between 1.30pm and 4.30pm at Doveridge Village Hall while the second on Tuesday, October 30 is now fully booked.
Those interested in finding out more can visit www.villagehalldoctor.org.