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10th July 2009 - Informal Adult Learning

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 There’s a  Government White paper on informal adult learning which is making recommendations that publicly owned buildings to be made available free or at a low cost for learning – this may have implications for village halls’ ability to generate income in the future – but may equally be of little significance to them 

Here is an extract: 

"We want to sow the seeds of an ‘open space’ movement where organisations throw open their facilities for informal learning at low or no cost. DIUS, DCSF, CLG, DH, and DCMS will work together with partners to open up spaces for informal learning in schools, colleges, libraries, community centres and healthy living centres, whether this learning is provided by the public, voluntary or self-organised sector. We will also develop a toolkit on how to set up, support and maintain a self-organised group.’

We would like to know if any of our halls are approached over this.

Whilst we applaud the concept of informal adult learning and would, i general, support these initiatives we are concerned that pressure may be put on halls to co-operate whilst no funding is provided to reward the halls for involvement. Whilst village halls are not usually 'publicly owned buildings' and would not be covered bu this iniative we are a little concerned that well meaning informal adult learning providers may not realise this and expect village halls to open their doors free of charge for these purposes.  

One of the bigest issues, should this arise, is that tutors that use a village hall will probably not expect to put out tables and chairs, etc and then put them away again afterwards. If a hall's caretaker is expected to do this then there is obviously even less case for expecting halls to make their premises available at little or no charge.