Victoria Rooms


Although public buildings and community centres will be able to re-open on 12 April 2021, we do not plan to re-open the village hall until 17 May 2021 (save for 6 May 2021 when we will be open as a Polling Station). If all goes to plan, there will be fewer restrictions in place after 17 May. Indoor adult sports activities and exercise classes will be able to take place by then and it will be possible to stage indoor entertainment, albeit at half capacity. Up to 30 people will be able to attend such occasions as Christenings, wedding receptions and wakes. The Government’s Covid-secure guidelines (‘hands, face, space’ and good ventilation) will, however, need to be observed until further notice. 

Our Special Conditions of Hire, have been drawn up following advice from Action for Communities in Rural England and the Government. These can be found on this website, along with a Covid-19 Secure notice and a comprehensive risk assessment.

As you can see from the risk assessment, we are, among other measures:

  • installing sanitiser stations at the entrances to the building
  • providing new liquid soap and paper towel dispensers in the toilets and in the kitchen
  • posting social distancing reminders
  • fitting ‘vacant/engaged’ locks on the outer toilet doors to ensure that only one person uses each suite at a time
  • closing the kitchen, for the time being

We have also engaged a specialist firm to check our water systems for legionella and have arranged a professional ‘deep clean’ before we re-open. Thereafter, the hall will be cleaned professionally twice a week.

I hope you will agree that we have done all we reasonably can to provide a safe village hall, but we are, of course, very much reliant on our hirers and users to play their part. We are asking hirers to sanitise equipment and surfaces before and after use and have provided materials and equipment for that purpose. We ask everybody to maintain social distancing on the premises and to wear a face covering, if appropriate.

We will ease these restrictions as soon as we are advised that it is safe to do so.

We rely very much on the support of our local community and hope that we shall soon be able to welcome you again to the Victoria Rooms.

Philip Knowles
Milverton Victoria Rooms Management Committee
March 2021

COVID-19 : Special conditions of hire

April 2020

To be read by the Hirer

In order that the village hall can be used safely by everybody, these Special Conditions will apply until further notice.  They are supplemental to, not a replacement for, the hall’s ordinary Conditions of Hire.

We are hoping to re-open the village hall in early September 2020 for the following:

  • essential voluntary activities
  • urgent public services
  • educational, recreational, leisure and social gatherings
  • meetings or civic functions

within the capacity limits set out in paragraph 7. Indoor live performances have been permitted since 15 August 2020, but social distancing and the other risk management measures set out in these Special Conditions still apply.  Bookings for large gatherings or celebrations will not, for the time being, be accepted.

1.  The Hirer is responsible for ensuring that those attending the activity or event comply with the Management Committee’s COVID-19 Secure Guidelines dated August 2020. They are attached to these Special Conditions and displayed at the entrance to and in other parts of the premises. Ideally, every person expected to attend should be issued with a copy, either by electronic means or on paper before or when they arrive. 

2. The Hirer undertakes to comply with the actions identified in the Committee’s COVID-19 Risk Assessment. The current version dated August 2020 is also attached. 

3. The Hirer is responsible for sanitising all surfaces and equipment to be used during the period of hire (including chairs and tables) and for sanitising those surfaces and equipment after use. Sanitiser/cleaner and disposable cloths and gloves are provided in a box in the Reading Room.  Equipment to be sanitised includes equipment which the Hirer normally stores at the hall.  Particular attention should be paid to door handles and door pushes, light switches and heater controls (where used), taps, sinks and washbasins, sanitiser and soap dispenser buttons, work surfaces and table tops. Do not spray liquids on to light switches or other electrical installations or equipment (including heater controls) – apply cleaning agent to these sparingly with a cloth.

The Committee will arrange to have the hall deep-cleaned prior to re-opening in September 2020 and after any COVID-19 alert arising on the premises.  Otherwise the hall will be professionally cleaned twice a week.  For the time being, therefore, we are relying on hirers to carry out their own sanitising regime both before and after their period of hire.

4.  The Hirer must make sure that everyone likely to attend the activity or event understands:

  • that they cannot take part if they or anyone in their household has had COVID-19 symptoms in the last 14 days, and
  • that if they develop symptoms within 7 days of visiting the premises they must use NHS Test and Trace to alert others with whom they have been in contact as well as informing the Hirer and the Chairman of the Management Committee (01823 400609)

5.  The Hirer must keep a register of those attending the activity or event, including names and contact details, preferably a telephone number. Personal data obtained in this way should be kept securely and must not be used for a purpose other than tracing following a COVID-19 alert.

6.  The Hirer must prepare a risk assessment showing how the hall is to be used safely during the hire period.  The risk assessment must be submitted for approval by the Bookings Secretary no later than 7 days before the start of the activity or event. 

7.  As part of the risk assessment the Hirer must agree with the Bookings Secretary a maximum number of people permitted to attend the activity or event consistent with the need to comply with current official guidance on social distancing.  On no account is the maximum to be exceeded. The Bookings Secretary will not, in any event, agree to exceeding the following capacity limits for the time being:

            Main Hall                               30 persons

            Reading Room                     8 persons

Current social distancing guidance is two metres or one metre with risk mitigation where two metres is not viable.  People meeting in a club or group at a community centre are being encouraged to socially distance from anyone they do not live with or who is not in their ‘support bubble’.

8.  The Hirer will ensure that everyone attending maintains appropriate social distancing while waiting to enter or leave the premises and throughout their use of the premises. Where the number of attendees justifies it, the Hirer should set up a one way system so that the main entrance lobby is reserved for entry only and the side door for exit only.  The use of confined spaces, for example the rear corridors or the storerooms, will need to be carefully managed and periods of use kept as brief as possible. The Hirer will make sure that no more than one person uses each suite of toilets at a time. ‘Vacant/engaged’ locks have been fitted to the outer toilet doors to facilitate this.

9.  The Hirer will take particular care to ensure that social distancing is maintained for any persons aged 70 or over or likely to be clinically vulnerable to COVID-19. For some people, passing another person in a confined space is less risky, but for older people that should be avoided.

10.  The Hirer will ensure that all persons attending their activity or event wear a face covering, unless that would be inappropriate, given the nature of the activity.  In that event, the Hirer will adopt other risk mitigation measures, such as increasing the distance between participants who do not live in the same household or form part of the same ‘support bubble’.

11.  The Hirer will position furniture or otherwise arrange the room so that, so far as possible, people are seated side by side, rather than face to face. If face to face seating is unavoidable, the Hirer must ensure that the officially recommended distance is observed between persons seated opposite one another.    

12.  The Hirer is responsible for the disposal of all waste generated during the period of hire, including used cleaning cloths and gloves. The waste bins are in the yard. Hall users must not, however, dispose of used tissues at the hall but should take them home for disposal.

13.  The Hirer will keep the premises well ventilated throughout the hire period, with windows and doors open as far as convenient. The Hirer is responsible for ensuring they are all securely closed on leaving.

14.  The kitchen is, for the time being, closed and no food or drink is to be prepared on the premises.  The Hirer will ensure that any food or drink, including drinking water, brought on to the premises by persons attending their activities is for their personal consumption only.

15.  Where the activity or event involves participants bringing their own equipment, the Hirer will ask them not to share it with others and will ensure that it is removed from the premises at the end of the hire period.  

The Hirer is reminded of the restrictions on bringing electrical equipment on to the premises in the main Conditions of Hire.

16.  Any member of the Management Committee is entitled at all times to enter the building to ensure that these Special Conditions of Hire are being observed and may require the activity or event to cease and the building to be vacated in the event of non-compliance. In that event, the hire charge will not be refunded.

17.  The Management Committee may close the premises where there are safety concerns relating to COVID-19, for example, if someone who has attended the hall develops symptoms, or it is reported that these Special Conditions of Hire are not being complied with, or in the event that community buildings are asked or required to close again. The Committee will make every effort to give Hirers adequate notice of any closure and will refund any hire charges paid in respect of cancelled bookings. 

Milverton Victoria Rooms Management Committee
August 2020