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17th September 2014
The survey, by leading rural network ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), showed volunteers who run classes and events put in 2.5 million hours annually. That’s on top of the estimated 9.6 million hours clocked up by management committees.
But more than half of the halls who responded said they were struggling to find new recruits to help manage the buildings – with people protesting that they were too busy, too old or simply not interested.
ACRE, which runs an information and advice service for village halls through its nationwide network of rural community councils, carried out the survey to identify what support halls need and to illustrate the social value they add to rural life.
At Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council, a member of the ACRE Network, the service is provided by Margaret Kirk, Community Development Coordinator. Margaret provides information and guidance to the committees managing village halls and rural community buildings across the East Riding of Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire, as well as supporting the East Riding Association of Rural Community Buildings and its members.
ACRE Village Halls Manager Deborah Clarke said: “People want to use village halls – but they don’t want to commit to running them. It’s understandable as there is a raft of duties to deal with, from licensing legislation to health and safety – but communities are in danger of taking their volunteers for granted.
“Younger people are especially hard to attract as they often work long hours away from villages in order to afford to live in them – while the newly retired often don’t want to commit.”
Margaret Kirk said: “Village halls provide social activities, clubs, classes and essential services for every age group – helping to combat loneliness and build a sense of community spirit. Volunteers provide a valuable role by helping halls move with the times – just an hour a week can make a difference.
“Anyone who wants to help run their village hall will no doubt be welcomed with open arms. You can get in touch with us to find out who to approach in your community.”
Key findings of the ACRE 2014 village halls survey include:
* ACRE undertook a survey of village halls across England. The survey returned 1,300 responses, (13%) that were used to derive the statistics for this report. For more information about the village halls service, visit www.acre.org.uk
Margaret Kirk can be contacted on 01430 430904 for information and advice.
Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance would like to invite you to join their Community Network. If you have been affected by cancer and can volunteer your time to help us transform cancer services, we’d love to hear from you. We want to work alongside people who live in the Humber, Coast and Vale to understand what works well, what could be better and what we can learn. If you want to get involved, we would love to see you at our first meeting: 26th September 2019, 10.30am – 12pm Hessle Town Hall, Hessle, HU13 0RR Refreshments will be provided For more information and to confirm your attendance please contact: Jennifer Hall, Macmillan Patient and Public Engagement Officer for Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance Tel. 07936 0371077 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org