by Countryside Alliance

Village Halls Week offers us all a chance to appreciate the vital role they play in rural communities up & down the country. Applications to the Village Halls Improvement Grant Scheme, run by charity organisation Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), are currently open for Stage 2. If you have missed the Stage 1 deadline, do keep an eye on the website for future updates. 

Village Halls Week, a national campaign begins today, Monday 20 January to Sunday 26 January. The campaign celebrates the services that village halls provide in rural communities across England.
Some 650 village halls across the country will be marking the week with events.
Village halls in England have received £1.2 million through a government funding scheme, helping community hubs make vital refurbishments to continue the invaluable role they play in rural communities.
So far, grants for 21 projects have been approved as part of the £3 million Village Halls Improvement Grant Scheme launched in April 2019. Improvements include repairs to roofs, refurbishments to toilets and kitchens and new meeting rooms.
With more than 10,000 village halls across the country, these spaces provide vital hubs for communities to come together, collaborate and celebrate. Many halls provide a space for shops, cafes, pop up pubs, nurseries and doctors.
Sarah Lee Head of Policy at the rural campaigning organisation, the Countryside Alliance said: “Village Halls are a vital hub for rural communities up and down the country. From offering spaces for coffee mornings, birthday parties, exercise classes, jumble sales and child & adult learning courses to playing an integral role in our democratic process as polling stations.
She added: “Village Halls Week offers us a chance to think about the key role these buildings play in bringing communities together."
In a statement for Gov. UK, Defra Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner said:
“There can be no doubt that village halls are more important and relevant than ever. Village Halls Week provides a perfect opportunity for people up and down the country to celebrate these wonderful places at the heart of our rural community.

Through the government’s grant scheme, run by charity organisation Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), village hall committees are able to apply for grants of up to £75,000 towards refurbishment and alteration of their buildings."

Funding covers 20% of the total costs of a project. The remaining funding comes from a combination of charity reserves, fundraising, local authority funding and other grants such as the National Lottery Community Fund.”
Want to apply? Applicants can apply for grants by clicking here. NOTE, Stage 1 of the applications have now closed. Stage 2 remains open. If you have missed the Stage 1 deadline, do keep an eye on the website for future updates. 
The application must be a village hall or similar rural community building and a registered charity. New build projects will not be eligible to apply to the fund due to their high costs and long timescales. Applications will be assessed by a panel including Defra officials and Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) staff with extensive experience of halls and grant schemes.


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