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Tips to take care of your local village hall this winter

Towergate Insurance Brokers is advising trustees and those in charge of their local village hall, community hall, leisure or sports hall, to ensure assets are protected appropriately.

Adrian Bonas, Charity Champion at Towergate Insurance Brokers Cardiff who specialises in Charity and Third Sector Insurance, is advising trustees to ensure their hall has the correct insurance in place for the variety of activities the festive season brings, as well as being practically prepared to protect their premises from adverse weather conditions.

Adrian said “During the festive season community spaces see a lot more activity as people celebrate. This means that your insurers should be made fully aware of the types of activities offered due to the risk they can pose; such as the use of smoke or snow machines and play inflatables, to name a few. If a member of the public were to have an accident and claim compensation and the insurers were unaware that these types of activities were taking place in the hall, the trustees could potentially be exposed to personal loss.”

Trustees should also regularly review the level of liability insurance cover in place at the hall to ensure these remain adequate, especially in view of potential increases in compensation awards.

The winter months can cause additional issues that need to be considered such as slips and falls or burst or leaking water pipes. Careful maintenance and risk management can help prevent property damage and/or injury.

Here are some helpful tips to help you when the weather gets cold.

  • Treat paths and walkways with salt or grit before nightfall or early morning before staff, volunteers and visitors arrive.
  • Monitor the condition of the paths regularly, it’s easier to move snow when it’s fresh and loose.
  • Never use water to melt ice and snow as it may refreeze and turn to black ice which can increase the risk of injuries as it is invisible and very slippery.
  • When you’re shovelling snow, take care not to block drains.
  • Periodically check your stopcock to ensure it turns on and off easily.
  • Keep on top of simple maintenance such as changing washers and fixing dripping taps.
  • Check water tanks and cylinders for any corrosion and arrange for central heating systems to be maintained annually.
  • Lag or fit trace heating to exposed pipework where there is a risk of freezing.
  • If the property is going to be vacant for an extended period, consider isolating and draining down the water supply or ensure heating to the property is maintained (Please note – this may be a condition of your insurance policy).

Adrian continues: “Adverse weather cannot be predicted and the damage it can do is often underestimated. I encourage all trustees and those involved in the running and maintaining of community spaces to ensure their insurance policy is up to date and has them adequately covered. If anyone is worried that their building might be underinsured or that their policy may need updating, we urge them to get in contact with their broker to discuss their options.”