Community First News & Updates

Wiltshire village halls must innovate for the future says Community First charity

by | Jan 24, 2022 | Community Development, News

Village Halls Week 2022 Logo

Community buildings across the county will be challenged to do something different as part of Village Halls Week 2022 and make a pledge on social media.

Community First will be raising awareness of the contribution village halls make to rural communities, as well as inspiring the volunteers who run them to get creative and improve their offer to local residents.

#VillageHallsWeek is taking place Monday 24 January – Sunday 30th January 2022. It will be the fifth incarnation of the popular national campaign which last year saw 800 halls complete an online ‘Domesday Book’, to mark 100 years since their foundation. 

Many village halls are already doing innovative things. Some, like Easterton Village Hall in Wiltshire who installed an eco-roof as part of their recent major modernisation programme.  The decision has proved an outstanding success as the Hall’s fuel bills will decrease even though they are heating a larger area.  Also visitors to the Kennet Valley village hall can now relax in the knowledge that air quality levels will now be maintained automatically and the new installation is a major achievement for the community, both in terms of maintaining hygiene levels for Hall users, but also by substantially reducing the Halls energy costs.

Village halls make fantastic venues for arts and cultural activities and performances are beginning to come back into Halls.  Wilton Community centre has innovated by purchasing modular staging equipment which is easy to store and encourages more community performances such as concerts, cinema showings and the community can enjoy some fun filled events.  Others are getting creative with fundraisers and making important contributions to the well-being of the community. Such was the case in Broad Hinton Village Hall who put on a fashion show evening with the committee members stepping up to be models and a fun evening of retail therapy was enjoyed by all.

Helen Akiyama, Community First’s Village Halls advisor said:

“We’re pleased to be supporting Village Halls Week 2022 which will be a celebration of everything that village halls can, or could do, to improve their offer to the local community. With Action with Communities in Rural England, we’ve been highlighting the role and achievements of halls for some time – from combating loneliness to supporting local businesses. But this year’s campaign will be a bit different. We know there’s some great examples of halls that’ve gone the extra mile by putting on new activities and services for residents, taking action on climate change or taking steps to become more financially resilient. Along with other members of the ACRE Network, we’ll be celebrating these pioneering halls and challenging others to make pledges to get similarly creative”.

The volunteers who run these buildings – estimated to number more than 50,000 across England – are urged to contact Helen to access a campaign pack or visit ACRE’s website where they will find more information about the campaign, along with ideas to help them get involved and a copy of the pledge form.

Notes to editors

Contact hakiyama@communityfirst.org.uk 07770 490 907

Village Hall Week pledge cards and further guidance on getting involved in the campaign can can be downloaded from ACRE’s website.

The launch of village halls week will be livestreamed to ACRE’s FacebookYouTube and LinkedIn accounts at about 11am on Monday 24 January.

ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) is a national charity speaking up for and supporting rural communities. It is the national body of the ACRE Network, England’s largest rural grouping of county-based local development charities which together reach over 35,000 community groups annually, and lever in over £34 million each year in support of rural communities.

*In 2020, ACRE published the findings of a comprehensive study of village halls in England, drawing attention to their social and economic impacts.

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