#VillageHallsWeek 2020 its here

Defra and MPs will meet communities awarded funds from the Village Hall Improvement Grant Fund to Kick off Village Halls Week 2020

Action for Communities in Rural England (ACRE) run the annual campaign Village Halls Week which celebrates the community spaces at the heart of rural communities. This year promises to be extra special as the week kick starts in the House of Commons.

London may not seem like the natural setting for a rural celebration, but numerous village halls will make their way into the capitol to meet Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Defra’s Rural Minister and their MPs.

The halls taking part have all been successful in receiving awards from The Treasury, Defra and ACRE’s £3m Village Halls Improvement Grant Fund which was launched in April 2019 by ACRE, Lord Gardiner and Robert Jenrick MP, previously Exchequer Secretary at The Treasury. The grant exists to helps older halls with repairs and improvements, meaning they may continue to serve their communities and avoid facing closure.

Village Halls Week is a national campaign which celebrates the services provided by halls and the volunteers making it possible. Many halls provide a space for shops, cafes, pop up pubs, nurseries and doctors. They are an essential part of rural life. Village Halls Week ran for the first time in 2018 and this year 650 halls are due to take part in the campaign.

There are 10,000 village halls and other community buildings in England’s rural communities, providing a hub for public events, social activities and other vital services such as hosting a post office.  With rural areas seeing diminishing services and social facilities village halls play a key huge part in bringing communities together and tackling social isolation.

Tees Valley Rural Action currently supports in excess of 70 rural village halls across the region, who we are encouraging to join in this year’s celebrations.   We are hosting our own Village Halls Conference on Thursday 23rd January Emmanuel Church Hall, Saltburn, where over 50 village halls volunteers and/or representatives will enjoy an action-packed agenda.  This is our 3rd year of holding a village halls conference and to mark this we are doing a poetry competition, a role-play by trustees titled “Meetings, Blooming Meetings!” and presenting the Village Halls Toolkit thanks to funding from Big Lottery Community Fund. Every Tees Valley village hall will receive a free copy to take away.

Rita Lawson CEO, “Village halls and community buildings are the nucleus of any community providing a venue for social, professional and educational activities.  All of these buildings are run on a daily basis by willing and enthusiastic volunteers and without them these vital facilities would be lost.  It is good to have this conference as we can bring together as many of the village hall volunteers as possible to celebrate what I term as ‘jewels in the crown’ which continue to thrive for the next generation who will benefit from them.”

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