Government to redecorate crumbling village halls with new funding scheme to combat lonelines

Helena Horton
Village halls in need of repair have been granted £1.2 million of funding in order to turn them into centres of the community. - Craig Stennett

The government is redecorating crumbling village halls across the country with a scheme aimed at combating loneliness.

Halls in need of repair have already been granted £1.2 million of funding in order to turn them into centres of the community.

Communities are still able to apply for grants of up to £75,000 in order to make improvements to their halls.

These include repairs to roofs, refurbishments to toilets and kitchens and new meeting rooms.

This announcement has been made to mark the beginning of Village Halls Week, commencing today [Mon].

The campaign celebrates the services that village halls provide in rural communities across England, and will involve events at 650 village halls across the country.

Thriving village halls help combat loneliness and become a "hub for communities to come together", the government said.

The over 10,000 halls in the country also provide a space for shops, cafes, pop up pubs, nurseries and doctors.

Defra Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner said: “Village halls are an essential part of rural life. I am delighted that our grant scheme is helping to refurbish our nation’s village halls, and each and every one will make a real difference to their communities.

“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.”

David Emerson CBE, the chair of Action with Communities in Rural England, said: “We are delighted to manage the Village Hall Improvement Grant Fund and have been overwhelmed with the fantastic response from halls.

“The impact of the grants are huge and will make a great difference to rural communities. Village Halls Week is the perfect time to celebrate the new facilities rural communities can now enjoy.”

The announcement comes on the same day of the annual report on the government’s Loneliness Strategy, which sets out the approach to tackling loneliness in England.

This strategy includes giving village halls across the country funding to help to increase community cohesion, while reducing isolation and loneliness.