Village halls – help available as Village Hall Week approaches 14/02/2024

Village halls are hugely important to their community. As Village Hall Week approaches, there is some help and funding available which may help your community.

ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) have just announced that the grant scheme for those managing community buildings has re-opened, with a lower award threshold of £2,000 – making it more accessible to support smaller projects such as toilet upgrades and new kitchens. An online application process and simplified eligibility criteria will make it easier to apply!

Devon Communities Together have a team who offer advice and information for village halls including the availability of public funding. They can help on a number of topics including making your hall sustainable, what liabilities you may have, where to get insurance, undertaking risk assessments, model policies and more. Councils may approach Devon Communities Together themselves for advice, or point your local village hall team in their direction for assistance.

Village Halls week 18th – 24th March 2024

ACRE have also announced that Village Halls week will take place from 18th – 24th March 2024. This popular campaign aims to raise awareness of England’s 10,000+ rural community buildings and rather than take place in January, Village Halls Week has been moved to March, in the hope that the better weather will be allow for halls to host local events that engage their community.

ACRE are urging village hall committees to put the date in their diary and organize events for that week.  Sign up to receive updates on how to get involved.

With energy bills being a focus for many community facilities and the need for resilience to the energy crisis, the theme this year is environmental sustainability and ‘Go Green!’. ACRE are keen to share ideas and help advise village halls as to how they can make their buildings more energy efficient and reduce their energy consumption with projects such as:

  • insulation of walls and ceilings
  • installation of electric car charging points,
  • installation of Solar PV and battery storage

Village halls are of huge importance to local communities and it’s vital, particularly in the current economic climate, that we help to secure their future.  Apart from being the most common meeting venue for councils, they are used as ‘warm spaces’, pop up libraries & shops, community kitchens, food banks, and much more – but in all instances they help facilitate community engagement and reduce social isolation. The village of Cheriton Bishop in West Devon knows only too well the importance of their village hall following a devastating fire in September 2022. Thankfully, after much hard work they have been able to re-open their doors in January 2024.

Devon Communities Together have published a blog post with 10 ways to celebrate Village Halls Week, which may be worth sharing with your local hall.

And, if you have any stories of working with your village hall, we’d love to hear them, especially for a possible Village Halls Week feature. Please send them in to us so we can share on our website and e-bulletin.