The Village Halls Consortium were approached by Lisa Jones from AVOW (Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham) earlier this year as they had discovered the Consortium through this website and wanted to arrange an examplar visit to find out about the Consortium and the work we do.
This is Lisa''s account of the visit:
"In October last year I organised for a group of my Community Buidings network members to visit Monmouthshire in South Wales. I knew they have a good network set up down there supporting community buildings and when I started my current role as Community Buildings Development Officer, I was passed a link to their website (www.monmouthshire-halls.org.uk) and online directory. Through this I made links with the development officers down there and the visit was arranged. The idea was to take members of community buildings (ie committee members, volunteers or trustees) to another area outside of Wrexham to:
- See how other areas run their buildings
- Share ideas on events/funding/hints and tips on best practice
- See what support is available in other areas
- See good ways to use space and see refurbishments
- Generally just to see that people in other areas struggle with the same issues that we do in Wrexham and see how other places deal with these struggles
The trip was a success and when I mentioned that I would be doing another similar trip, people jumped at the chance to come again and those who missed out last time were quick to book a place on this next one.
I had a few links to other areas - again which I had gathered from websites and directories. One of these was The Village Halls Consortium - which I think is a great website/directory. The Consortium covered Teesdale, County Durham which is a very rural area. Before I made contact I was nervous about doing a second trip as the first one was so good - I knew a second trip had a lot to live up to. However I needn''t have worried - as soon as I made contact with Helen and introduced myself, we quickly started swapping e mails and ideas for the trip and I began to feel excited about it. Helen was a massive help and organised a lot for me and gave me contacts such as hotels, caterers etc as I needed so many quotes to keep on file for my project.
Between us talking on the phone and swapping countless emails the overnight trip was organised for June 2010 and was a HUGE success. Seventeen people in total went on the trip from various buildings in rural Wrexham and all agreed that the trip was inspiring and really useful for them.
Eight buildings in Teesdale were visited in total over a two day period. At each and every building we were taken to we were met with a really warm welcome and met some lovely people - also committee members, trustees and volunteers. Everyone we met was more than willing to answer any questions or show us around their buildings which was great.
As well as this, we visited the local radio station, who invited us there after hearing about the visit. Cathryn Williams my manager spoke about why we were in the area and everyone enjoyed looking around the studio. The trip also received local newspaper coverage up there where we featured in two papers and had our picture taken.
The trip as a whole was a great success, thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance. During and after the trip people from Wrexham have said how much they enjoyed it and learnt a lot from it. Comments have been made how this trip was even better than the first one which is great to hear. The trip has been inspiring and ideas are flying about at the moment how we in Wrexham could continue to work with Helen and the Consortium in the future and share ideas and best practice in the future.
A MASSIVE THANK YOU to all in Teesdale for such a great trip which was thoroughly enjoyable due to the buildings, the food, the accommodation, the beautiful scenery and most importantly the people we met - Thank you!! "
From the Consortium''s point of view, we also found the trip very useful and enjoyed the opportunity to show off our fantastic halls and the dedicated volunteers who look after them. It was also very useful for us to learn how buildings are ran and funded in other areas and it was a great learning experience for everyone involved!