We are expecting a further Update from ACRE, following the latest Govt changes in regulations, which mainly involves the rule of 6 but also amendments to other matters, which are expected to become law on the 24 September.  The Update will appear here as soon as we have received it.

In the meantime here is some information and a couple of useful links which I have been sent or found which you may find useful in interpreting your responsibilities.

Click Here for ABCD guidance for Performing Arts

Click Here for EMD the National Governing Body for Group Exercise

Click Here for Sport England Guidance on the Rule of 6 and Indoor Team Sports

Click Here for Govt FAQs What You Can and Can’t Do

Click Here for What Govt Has Changed on 22 September

You may find the below useful pending further clarity regarding exceeding the rule of 6 for sporting/physical activities. 6 can be exceeded provided all participants are in separate groups of 6 and that those groups do not mix.  If there is a likelihood they might mix then the activity would be breaking the law and should not take place or be restricted to a total number of 6. This is included in the FAQ guidance Section 3.15 which covers sporting activity and para 4 states:

“From 24 September, organised indoor sport and indoor exercise classes can continue to take place with larger numbers present, provided groups of more than six do not mix. If groups of six are likely to mix, these indoor activities must not go ahead. There is an exemption or (sic) organised indoor team sports for disabled people.”

Section 3.17 covers Support Groups under which the disabled exemption mentioned above falls so worth looking at that too.

We do not know how sedentary activities are affected yet eg Sewing Clubs, Book Clubs etc.

Test & Trace

It is unclear to us at the moment whether charitable Village Halls and Community Buildings are included in the scope of organisations mandated to comply with the Test & Trace requirements. Part of this requirement is to acquire and display the NHS Test & Trace QR Code Poster.

However, I am advising that all Village Halls and Community Buildings, whether local authority owned or not, comply with the Test & Trace requirements, where that is practicable and possible to do so, because it is good practice and will make a valuable contribution to the national effort.

If you are a local authority owned facility compliance is obligatory, this will include Parish Councils. Annex A gives a list of those organisations within the scope of the Guidance Click Here

If you are a charitable or community managed facility and wish to follow this advice (which may become mandatory anyway) you can find out all you need including how to register for a QR Code and what to do when you get your official poster by Clicking Here

You should also notify your Hirers of this and ensure that they understand their responsibility to ensure that their users supply their details or scan the QR Code (either one or the other but not both) is included in the Hire Agreement BUT entry cannot be refused to someone who won’t give their details. Staff, customers and visitors of facilities should be included.

Click Here for Guidance on Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace

The ACRE Re-opening Information Sheet Version 6 issued 18 September

This latest version addresses the practicalities of working with the group limit of 6 announced last week, the changed version of the Safe Use of Multi Purpose Community Facilities guidance issued late on 14th September and it also clarifies the Test & Trace responsibilities. There are amendments to Appendices D, E,  F, G, J & K so please ensure you carefully read all the relevant documents.

The Appendices are all contained within the Information Sheet – if you require editable Word versions please contact:


Click Here

The latest Public Health England guidance for the Hands, Face, Space message. Really useful resources for you to promote and reinforce safe and essential behaviour through social media, email signatures, websites, posters and bulletins

Click Here

14 September Ruling – Community Facilities Permitted to exceed the 6 Rule – extract from Govt Guidance for the Safe Use of Multi-Purpose Community Facilities:

From 14 September, whether indoors or outdoors people from different households must not meet in groups of more than 6. This limit does not apply to meetings of a single household group or support bubble which is more than 6 people. Community facilities following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host more than 6 people in total, but no one should visit or socialise in a group of greater than 6. Further information on social contact rules, social distancing and the exemptions that exist can be found on the guidance on meeting with others safely. These rules will not apply to workplaces or education settings, alongside other exemptions. See more details on what has changed.

If partaking in permitted activities users of COVID-19 secure community facilities should limit their social interactions with anyone they do not live with. Whilst activities may have 6 or more people participating (where it is safe to do so and capacity permits) it is important for all parties to maintain socially distant, 2 metres or 1 metre with actions taken to reduce the risk of transmission (where 2 metres is not viable) between households. For example, use of face coverings and encouraging good hand hygiene on entering premises and throughout visit.

Click Here  For the Guidance on the Safe Use of Multi-Purpose Community Facilities

ACRE is reviewing, and will be publishing a further update of, the New Information Sheet in light of the recent Govt changes

Guidance for making a Support Bubble Click Here

Guidance For the Charity Sector including AGMs Click Here

Track and Trace – Organisations that manage it for you

Click Here  for Time to Spare

Click Here  for Secure Check In

Barnham Community Hall in Sussex has produced a short and welcoming video for Village Hall users, including showing their signage, about what to expect and how to conduct themselves when entering and using the Hall.
Click Here

Guidance for Choirs and Choral activities

Click Here

ACRE Guidance – on the 17 August ACRE issued the latest version of the New Information Sheet Issue 5.1 (Version 5 previously posted had some issues) to support re-opening Click Here

Please contact me if you would like a list of the changes from previous versions. tim.hayward-smith@cdaherts.org.uk

Regarding Face Coverings – Advice from our ACRE Network is to use common sense and wear one unless there is a medical reason not to do so. People should be focusing on ways to behave as safely as possible and restricting the virus spread, not looking for loopholes to make life easier for themselves.

More on this below.

Clarification about Face Covering exemption for physical activity in a Village Hall or Community Building –

The wording that we quoted contained in the previous versions of the Govt Legislation and Guidance has now changed (as has been the case on frequent occasions of late) but it is still saying that it may not be advisable for health reasons to wear a face covering whilst engaged in physical exercise and so, where this is taking place in a Village Hall, participants are exempt from wearing face coverings. 
This is from the Guidance ‘When you do not need to wear a face covering’ Click Here

“In settings where face coverings are required in England, there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others.

This includes (but is not limited to):

…to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others – including if it would negatively impact on your ability to exercise or participate in a strenuous activity” 

and “There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering:

… if you are undertaking exercise or an activity and it would negatively impact your ability to do so”

This is covered in the Legislation under “Reasonable excuse” to not wear a face covering Click Here

“(c) … removes their face covering to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to themselves or others;”
However, please be aware that the wearing of face coverings is to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and so your risk assessments should determine, given the level of physical activity, if it is advisable for health reasons for the people involved with the activity to wear them or not. It is still advised to wear face coverings as frequently as possible for all activities other than for the health reasons cited above. Everyone should still be behaving as safely as possible and not looking for reasons not to wear face coverings.
Please get in touch if anything is not clear.

A new, visual reference guide to help those reopening community centres, including village halls, has been published by IF_DO in partnership with Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) and Clarion Futures

Click Here to download the IF_DO Guide

The IF_DO Guide for Safer Churches

Click Here

Coronavirus FAQs on the return of Golf from EnglandGolf.org

Last updated:  Friday 7 August (wearing of face coverings inside golf facilities/clubhouses/shops)  

Click Here

Govt Guidance Update 31 July

The wearing of Face Coverings in Community Centres, which includes Village Halls, will be mandatory in Regulations from 8 August. At the moment people are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where they may come into contact with people not normally met.

In England, face coverings are currently required by law to be worn in the following settings: shops, supermarkets, indoor transport hubs, indoor shopping centres, banks, building societies, post offices and on public transport. From 8 August, face coverings will be required by law to be worn in a greater number of public indoor settings including: museums, galleries, cinemas, places of worship, community centres and public libraries. For the full list updated 14 August Click Here

Managers of community facilities will have discretion over when they consider it safe to open for any activity permitted by legislation and may decide to remain closed if they are not able to safely follow the advice in the relevant guidance, to make the space COVID-19 secure. For guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities updated 14 August Click Here

Indoor Gyms, Fitness and Dance Studios etc were permitted to be open from 25 July but face coverings are not mandatory in these settings. Guidance states that all forms of face coverings may restrict breathing efficiency and should not be used during exercise except on specific advice from a physician. For guidance for providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities updated 13 August Click Here

For The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 Click Here

Use Of Village Halls By Schools – Charity Commission Guidance Click Here

Guidance from the Church of England on conducting Public Worship Click Here

Here is Guidance issued by the Associations for Table Tennis, Badminton and Carpet Bowls.

Table Tennis England Venue layouts Click Here

Table Tennis England Stage 2 Returning to Club Activity Click Here

Table Tennis England Stage 2 Hygiene and Facility Guidance Click Here

Badminton England Guidance to Players Click Here Click Here

English Carpet Bowls Association Coronavirus Guidelines Click Here

RHL Grants – If you have not applied for an RHL Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant then you need to do so as the Chancellor has announced that the Business Grant Schemes will close on 28th August.  We understand that some local authorities may have closed the Scheme already.

Discretionary Grants may still be available but check with your local authority.

Working with Young People and getting their perspectives on Covid-19 lockdown and it’s effect on people and communities

Click Here for Resources to help schools and community groups contribute to Govt Committee inquiry

Please note – ACRE has issued new versions of all the Appendices as there were some issues with text and formatting. We advise that you only use the clean versions below. Apologies for the inconvenience.


ACRE has published Issue 4 of The New Information Sheet  ‘Opening Your Hall After Lockdown’ which you can download below (the previous versions have been removed)

Please Read – Explanatory Notes on the Updates and additions

Version 4 of the Re-opening Information Sheet for Village Halls has been issued on 20 July 2020 to reflect the Government information at 20th July and anticipates changes at 25th July and 1st August. The changes mainly reflect the Government guidance around the opening of performance and sport venues, which are reflected in revision of Appendix D (Management of Social Distancing – a risk based Approach) and new appendices J and K, which summarise key points as they are most likely to affect village halls and similar facilities, such as allowing yoga, keep fit, rehearsals and live performances.

Social distancing has been a common cause of confusion and updated Government guidance for individuals was released on 18th July, including specific guidance that seated wedding receptions for up to 30 are permitted from 1st August. Further guidance about social distancing is given at the end of Appendix D, rather than in Section 2.2, and we hope this clarifies where responsibility lies. There are consequential tweaks to the Special Conditions of Hire (i.e. to the reference on social distancing, to remove the ban on performances, and an optional condition on compliance with any governing sport guidance). Other changes to Appendix D answer common queries e.g. about hiring for children’s parties, children’s entertainers, toddler groups, games. ACRE’s aim is that as further easing of lockdown takes place further changes to the Information Sheet are likely to primarily be in Appendix D, which should be easier for everyone to keep up with.

New Information Sheet Issue 4 – Updated 20.07.20 Opening your Hall after Lockdown Click Here

Appendix A: Opening Your Hall after Lockdown – Checklist Click Here

Appendix B: Questionnaire for potential Hirers Click Here

Appendix C: Help Keep This Hall Covid-19 Secure – Poster Click Here

Appendix D: Managing Social Distancing – (updated) Click Here

Appendix E: Model Hire Agreement – Supplements Click Here

Appendix F: Risk Assessment for Halls (new version) Click Here

Appendix G: Risk Assessment for Hirers (new version) Click Here

Appendix H: Covid-19 First Aid Box Suggested Contents List Click Here

Appendix I: Keep Playgrounds and Play Equipment Covid-19 Secure Notice  Click Here

Appendix J: Performances in Village and Community Halls (new appendix) Click Here

Appendix K: Sport and exercise in Village and Community Halls (new appendix) Click Here

Appendix L: COVID-19 Treatment Plan (in the event of someone becoming unwell with suspected COVID-19 symptoms while at the Hall. (new appendix) Click Here

Test and Trace – At present this is not a statutory requirement (ie it is a “should” not a “must”) but you will be contributing to inhibiting the spread of the virus and saving lives if you can keep records of your users, staff and visitors and share them with the NHS Test & Trace) Usual GDPR practices will apply Click Here

For Guidance about Weddings Click Here

Keeping Your Hall Covid Secure – a Visual Guide

The Hall Manager at Marston Green Parish Hall near Solihull shared this video with ACRE – You might find it offers some practical visual help in keeping your Hall Covid Secure and helping Hirers to manage their groups and activities safely

Click Here to watch the video

Indoor Sports facilities – Permissible From 25 July

(includes Village Halls and Community Buildings)

Providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities. Guidance for people who work in grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities Click Here

From 25 July indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios and indoors sports venues and facilities are permitted to open subject to the law and supporting guidance. We are assuming that this includes Pilates and Yoga but there will be restrictions dictated by the available space and group numbers.  Hirers must Risk Assess.

Outdoor Sports Facilities – What facilities are open Click Here

Outdoor sports courts and other outdoor sporting activities have been permitted to reopen if those responsible for them are ready to do so and they can do so safely, following COVID-19 Secure guidelinesOutdoor gyms, outdoor swimming pools and playgrounds can open, as can clubhouse bars and restaurants. Indoor gyms, swimming pools and leisure facilities can open from 25 July. See the indoor facilities guidance.

Updated on the 14th July

COVID-19: Govt Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities Click Here

Clarification from ACRE 7 July – Please note Important Information regarding the 30 limit:

The Regulations only permit events holding more than 30 persons where organised by:

“a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution, a public body, or a political body and a COVID-19 Risk Assessment has been carried out and is complied with”

This therefore means that private parties in village/community halls have to stick to the limit of 30.

For those Buildings with After School, Breakfast and Holiday Clubs – Protective measures for out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak Click Here

Covid-19 Govt Guidance For Businesses – Five Steps to Working Safely Click Here

Published 30 June 2020

COVID-19: Govt Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities Click Here

This Guidance is relevant to and includes Village Halls and Community Buildings

ACRE is updating the New Information Sheet – Opening your Hall after Lockdown which will appear here in due course

For a Covid-19 Legionella Guidance document on Lockdown Risks and Reopening Safely from The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health please Click Here

Also published on 30 June 2020

Govt Guidance for the public on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation in England Click Here

Other Guidance and documents (ACRE and other)

Govt Regulation regarding the re-opening of Public Buildings – update 15th June

The relevant amendment to Health Protection regulations from 15th June and in force until it is subsequently changed reads:

5. (7) A person who is responsible for a community centre must ensure that, during the emergency period, the community centre is closed except where it is used to provide

(a) essential voluntary activities or urgent public support services (including the provision of food banks or other support for the homeless or vulnerable people, blood donation sessions or support in an emergency), or

(b) for early years childcare provided by a person registered on the Early Years Register under Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006.

(c) to host an indoor market

“Early years childcare” is defined as in the Childcare Act 2006 and means for children from birth to five years old.

Read the full GOV.UK Guidance Changed on 15 June – CLOSING CERTAIN BUSINESSES AND VENUES IN ENGLAND Click Here

Pre-Schools & Nurseries

ACRE Covid-19 Re-opening Guidance Ref Pre-Schools Click Here

Dept of Education Guidance Re-opening Early Years Settings Click Here

Staying Covid – 19 Secure: Five Steps To Working Together Poster Click Here

ACRE Covid – 19 Briefing 21st May 2020 including Govt Regulations summary Click Here

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