Action plan launched for community halls

A package of help is being planned for organisers running village halls, community centres and sports and social clubs across north Norfolk.An action plan has been hatched after licensing officials raised concerns about poor management hampering some venues and creating a downward spiral of under-use.

A package of help is being planned for organisers running village halls, community centres and sports and social clubs across north Norfolk.

An action plan has been hatched after licensing officials raised concerns about poor management hampering some venues and creating a downward spiral of under-use.

Council officers feel the "well-meaning amateurs" running the cornerstones of community life are being hampered by ignorance of regulations, naivete on marketing, and are struggling with money difficulties and a lack of local support and failing to meet the needs of youngsters. As a result, some of the 300-plus venues across the district suffer with problems such as binge and under-age drinking.

North Norfolk District Council has discussed the matter with the police, Norfolk Rural Community Council, voluntary groups and training providers.


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Now it is proposing measures aimed at helping venues, including:

>Offering training on licensing and other matters through the Learning and Skills Council at no cost to the council or delegates. Classroom sessions could lead to a self-help DVD.

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Producing a newsletter highlighting issues and giving advice and contacts for agencies dealing with training, licensing, health and safety, and crime prevention.

Upgrading the council website's information on licensing matters, with links to other helpful sites.

Setting up peer working groups, with the council helping to put venues with problems in touch with others who have overcome them and are happy to mentor others.

Environmental health manager Chris Cawley said "There will not necessarily be a one-size-fits-all mechanism which can fulfil all their needs.

"The aim is to provide a number of assistance routes which will consolidate and complement existing sources of guidance."

Mr Cawley is asking the council to back the action plan.

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