There are 10,000 village halls in England which represents the largest network of community-owned facilities in rural Britain. At the heart of rural community life, they provide a hub for social activities, classes and services such as post offices, doctors’ surgeries and shops. The term ‘village hall’ covers a range of rural buildings, including church halls and community centres, in which a variety of activities take place – from pantomimes to playgroups.
Village halls often provide the only place to meet within a rural community, providing vital and diverse support to improve quality of life, particularly for those who are least able to travel to more distant centres of activity.
The key to the continuing survival of village halls is the volunteer management committees who have to deal with an increasing burden of legislation yet manage to keep their halls financially sustainable mostly by earning their own income and local fundraising.
Supported by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), the HWRA Village Halls adviser helps community volunteers to manage their buildings by:
- Having local knowledge and an understanding of the issues in the area
- Providing information, training and advice, by telephone, electronically and through a range of publications
- Building relationships with parish councils and public service partners
- Carrying out research that provides detailed data on issues affecting halls
- Promoting and raising the profile of village halls at local, regional and national levels
On the national stage, ACRE speaks up for village halls, ensuring Government policymakers are aware of the challenges faced by volunteers who are often struggling with red-tape and the demands of managing a community building. ACRE works with the Charity Commission as one of four partners, to provide advice and guidance on land and property issues.
ACRE developed and manages Hallmark, a quality standard scheme for village halls to reward and recognise good practice. Achievement of the quality standards – level 1, 2 and 3 also attracts reductions in insurance costs with some suppliers.
To find out more please contact Carole Foster on 01652 637700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Village Halls Advisor works closely with the two Village Halls Networks that cover the Humber & Wolds area: East Riding Village Halls Network (ERVHN) and northern Lincolnshire Village Halls Network. To find out more about the support in your area please click on the links below: