On Friday 5 April, Nottinghamshire MP Robert Jenrick and Defra Minister for Rural Affairs Lord Gardiner launched a £3m grant for the improvement of village halls.
There are 10,000 Village Halls in England and many are key for rural communities; they provide a space for shops, pubs, cafes, fitness, social, healthcare and even education.
Speaking from the launch event in Oxton Village Hall, Mr Jenrick acknowledged the importance of village halls saying, "Village halls are at the heart of rural communities; places where people come together.” He also shared his understanding that “it's challenging for communities to raise funds.”
Lord Gardiner said, “This launch is to see how we can enhance and improve the facilities, and this will make a big difference for a large number of communities with village halls."
The scheme will fund up to 20% of eligible costs, with a minimum grant of £10,000 and a maximum grant of £75,000 payable. This means overall scheme costs would be between £50,000 and £375,000.
ACRE Chair, David Emerson CBE said, “We are hugely grateful for the ongoing recognition from government of village halls.”
The grant is now open for applications and will be managed by Action for Communities in Rural England (ACRE) on behalf of Defra. ACRE provides support and advice to rural communities via a national network of 38 member organisations. To find out more about the fund and to apply, visit the ACRE website at www.acre.org.uk