Safeguarding and Village Halls

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During Safeguarding Adults Week, we explained the importance of everyone in the VCSE community being aware of the need for vigilance and protecting the vulnerable.    Every organisation that delivers charitable activities has a duty to safeguard volunteers, staff members, participants and donors, but let’s look at village and community halls in particular. 

It’s clear that the organisers of activities and events are responsible for ensuring people’s safety and wellbeing during their time there, but it doesn’t mean the village hall volunteers and staff are absolved from responsibility. Given the multiplicity of activities and events that take place in village and community halls, it’s helpful to have a closer look at why it’s especially important for hall committees to have the right policies and procedures in place.   

Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) – and CAN as the network member for Norfolk - encourage village halls to make sure policies and procedures are in place to keep everyone safe. It’s so important that volunteers and staff managing village halls understand they have an important part to play in creating safe spaces for members of their community, whether they be adults or younger people. 

Five reasons to get safeguarding right 

  • Abuse, harassment and physical harm are not always visible and not always reported 
  • We have a duty to do something about it 
  • If everyone understands the right to be safe, they know they are protected. 
  • An organisation that does safeguarding well is an organisation that is trusted. 
  • The Charity Commission expects every charity to prioritise safeguarding. 


Paul Dixon, ACRE’s Rural Evidence Manager said: “We want volunteers managing village halls to understand they have an important part to play in creating safe spaces for members of their community, especially when it comes to protecting younger or more vulnerable people.” 

ACRE’s recent national survey of village halls showed that village halls are a vital asset for many communities. 60% of halls provide the only meeting space in the local area, whilst 80% of respondents knew someone whose lives had changed for the better as a result of joining activities at their local hall. Village and community halls can continue to improve lives through adopting effective safeguarding practices and policies, to ensure that everyone is protected in rural areas. 

Creating a safe and welcoming environment, where everyone is respected and valued, is at the heart of safeguarding. It’s about making sure your organisation is run in a way that actively prevents harm, harassment, bullying, abuse and neglect. It’s also about being ready to respond safely and well if there is a problem. Everyone in the organisation has a role to play in safeguarding. It should become part of your day to day activities. 

Where to get advice, support and information 

CAN’s Community Development Officers can advise management committees about safeguarding and how best put in place policies and procedures suitable for use in their hall. ACRE has revised its Information Sheet and model safeguarding policy, so please contact us for a copy. Cal 01362 698216 or email office@communityactionnorfolk.org.uk  

See how Norfolk approaches safeguarding for adults at Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board and for children and young people at Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership.    

Further guidance from ACRE can be found here. Additional helpful information, examples, and the distinction between safeguarding for adults and children can be found here.