QUALITY COUNTS: Volunteer committee members from Gainford Village Hall were awarded a Hallmark accreditation award. From left, Amanda Thomas, Billy Barnett, Helen Brown, of Durham Community Action, Kathy Russell, Peter Dransfield and Neil Russell.
QUALITY COUNTS: Volunteer committee members from Gainford Village Hall were awarded a Hallmark accreditation award. From left, Amanda Thomas, Billy Barnett, Helen Brown, of Durham Community Action, Kathy Russell, Peter Dransfield and Neil Russell.

VOLUNTEER members of a Teesdale village hall committee had good cause for celebration last week when they were presented with a quality standards award.

Members of Gainford Village Hall management committee received their Hallmark 1 Certificate in a presentation ceremony.

The certificate, awarded by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), which works alongside the Charity Commission to support the good management of village halls across England.

Lawrence Chandler, chairman of Gainford Village Hall management committee, said: “We are very keen to engage with the Hallmark award scheme.

“It allows us to check that we are running the village hall to the highest of standards, in line with national good practice, so it is really good news we have achieved level one.

“We all need reassurance that we are doing things well and this means our hall users can be even more reassured that the management committee do a great job.”

Hallmark is a free national quality scheme for community buildings, which was launched in 2007 by ACRE.

There are three levels of the quality standards for different aspects of village hall management.

Canon Neil Russell, committee secretary, said: “Tracy Emery, from Durham Community Action, has been really supportive in signposting us through this process.

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“We felt rather under scrutiny, which of course we were.

“She was very thorough in her examination of our processes, policies and documents, so it was a great relief to know she thought we were doing a good job,” he added.

“The award ceremony and the certificate are the icing on the cake.

“They also show what a great job all our volunteer management committee members do.

“This award represents many hours of work in good management of the village hall and in preparing all the necessary documentation. We have to thank both the committee and volunteer Kathy Russell for this.”

Committee treasurer, Tony Kennan, said: “One of the great things about the committee is the cross section of villagers playing a vital role in our new plans and developments.

“They bring energy, enthusiasm and a great professionalism – vital qualities in our volunteers.

“We now have a powerful mix of old-hands and new blood.”