Rural Halls Refurbishment Scheme – Frequently Asked Questions

Rural Halls Refurbishment Scheme – Frequently Asked Questions

What is defined as a rural hall? Can the hall be a multi-purpose facility, for example, at a sports club which has a hall within its facilities, used for both sporting and community activities?

Standalone community halls, multi-purpose community facilities, including halls owned by sports clubs, and hall committees that provide a range of activities for their community can apply to this Scheme provided the applicant organisation owns or leases the hall, has their own constitution, bank account, annual accounts / financial statement and meets all the other Scheme criteria as listed at Section 3 of the Scheme Information document.

For the purposes of this Scheme what is the definition of a hall?

For the purposes of this Scheme a hall is defined as any building placed on a foundation structure which cannot be readily re-located without significant expense. It may also include any building not on a permanent foundation which has utility servicing to the building, resulting in difficulty in moving such structures.

The hall must also be located in a rural area owned or leased by a formally constituted community/voluntary group and where the project meets all the other Scheme criteria as detailed at Section 3 of the Scheme Information document.

Can you please provide more detail on the training element?

The training element of the Scheme will be Level 1 accredited and will consist of four modules:

  • The Group in the Community;
  • Delivering your Capital project;
  • Making and Keeping your Community Facility Sustainable;
  • Finance Matters. 

The minimum number of participants from each Organisation is 6 people, all required to attend the 4 modules. Each Organisation will be provided with 10 hours of training for each of the four modules (40 hours of training in total per Organisation) which also allows for some personal learning for participants and completing their portfolio for their accreditation.

The training will be delivered locally or via electronic means or a mix of these. The training is expected to take approximately 4/5 months.

Does the organisation have to have sufficient funds in the bank or access to that amount, to cover total cost of project before the project starts? Or is it just enough funds to cover 5% of the costs? 

Applicants are not expected to have funds in the bank to cover the total cost of the project.

A minimum of 5% cash match funding must be evidenced along with evidence that you have, or have access to, sufficient funds to pay for the project costs over and above the grant aid available until the grant payment(s) are released.

The Department will consider requests, on a case by case basis, for phased payments to ease cash-flow during the delivery of a project.

Grants can only be paid retrospectively when your project completes or in phased payments with written agreement from DAERA. Other sources of grant aid/benefactor(s) may be utilised for match funding.

If there is an agreement in principle with the owner for a lease and this can be proven with a letter from the owner can the organisation apply for this funding?

A lease with a minimum of 20 years must be in place at the close of the call for Stage 1 applications. This includes instances where a lease is in place but does not meet the 20 years minimum remaining on the lease.

If your group cannot meet this criteria in time for this pilot Scheme we would encourage you to continue to work to have a lease in place for any future funding opportunities through DAERA or other funders.

Our changing rooms / showers were refurbished in the last 15 years at cost of more than £10,000. Would this rule out an application to the Scheme?

If the organisation has received grant aid of more than £10,000 in the last 15 years for a distinct refurbishment project of any part of the premises, the organisation cannot apply to this Scheme.  The Scheme will target those rural halls which have previously had limited investment.

How do you classify if a hall location is either urban or rural?

If your hall is located inside the Statutory Development Limits of any of the settlements classified under BAND A to BAND H listed at Annex 1 of the Scheme Information Document then your project is not eligible to apply.

What evidence regarding Building Control is required with the Stage 1 Application?

It is sufficient for the group to advise of where they are at in the process of applying for Building Control at Stage 1 Application.

If the organisation is requested to make a Stage 2 application the applicant will be required to evidence Building Control approval of their submitted drawings.

I cannot input the volunteer names at Question 10 of the Stage 1 Application Form?

There was an initial issue with that part of the Application form which has since been remedied. If you have already completed your application and met with this issue you should list the volunteers and their email address in the email when you are submitting your application. Alternatively, you can download the revised version from the DAERA website.

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