With changing community and societal needs, village and community halls across the county have developed into central hubs for an ever-growing variety of activities.
In addition to the traditional group meetings, toddler groups and pantomimes, these spaces now foster the growth of small enterprises, facilitate community engagement, and house community businesses, such as post offices, cafes and libraries.
However, the threat to their continued success lies in the balance as the addition of activities and changes in purpose bring new risks that may invalidate their insurance coverage. Ansvar, which insures for the charity and not-for-profit sectors, is urging centre committees to check their existing coverage to guarantee the protection of these venues for future use.
With some of these halls and centres being built before World War I or to commemorate it, many have been vital community spaces for over 100 years.
Adam Tier, head of underwriting, said: “Village and community halls are no longer limited to being mere event venues; they have seamlessly woven themselves into the fabric of everyday life. From hosting yoga classes and farmers' markets to providing space for personal trainers, art workshops and post offices, these halls have become the lifeblood of community interaction.”
Due to price rises and the rapid increase in the cost of materials, a significant number of village halls and community centres will now be underinsured. Adam added: “Being underinsured can have devastating consequences in the event of a large loss or significant damage, where policyholders are forced to find the shortfall to reinstate the property. These delays can leave a big hole in the local community. Therefore, it is imperative that a buildings valuation is regularly updated and contents and other items are frequently inventoried.”
"We understand the immense value community halls hold and want to ensure they are protected. Without adequate coverage, these community spaces and the clubs and local businesses they support can face significant financial strain or even closure. Working with a specialist insurer will ensure that the essence of what makes these community spaces thrive is preserved. They will understand the unique challenges community-driven initiatives face and provide tailored coverage to address those needs, ensuring peace of mind for community organisers and members."