Communities prepare for national village halls celebration

14th January 2020

Communities across Cumbria are preparing for Village Halls Week – a national celebration of village halls, their volunteers, and the services they offer their communities. This year Village Halls Week runs from Monday 20th to Sunday 26th January, and begins with a launch event at the House of Commons, hosted by Defra Minister Lord Gardiner of Kimble.

Hellen Aitken from Cumbrian community development charity ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) will be attending the launch in London, together with David Anderson, Chairman of Kirkby in Furness Community Centre, one of three Cumbrian halls to recently benefit from funding from the Defra funded Village Hall Improvement Grant.

Hellen Aitken, ACT Development Officer said “We’re very proud to support the volunteers running community buildings in Cumbria and I look forward to raising the profile of the important work they do and some of the challenges they face, at the national launch event.

“With rural areas seeing diminishing services and social facilities, village halls play a huge part in bringing communities together and tackling social isolation. There are over 330 village halls across Cumbria and without the dedication, skill and expertise of volunteers these facilities would close down and be lost forever. We are supporting #VillageHallsWeek so that we can celebrate the network of halls we have locally; champion the great services they offer to their community; and thank the volunteers at the heart of all that goes on.”

Village Halls Week began in 2018, created by national charity Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) and their 38 member organisations across the country to help raise the profile of these important community spaces. Anyone can get involved simply by posting a message or photo about their village hall on social media with the hashtag #VillageHallsWeek.

Special events will also be taking place in village halls throughout the week, including a countywide information and networking event run by ACT on Saturday 25th at Newbiggin Village Hall, Penrith, for anyone involved in running a community building. The event is kindly supported by the National Lottery Community Fund and village hall insurer Allied Westminster Ltd. Topics covered will include: village hall insurance; making village halls more accessible; websites and social media; and ACT’s current work to support community buildings applying for Lottery Reaching Communities grants.

For more information, or to book a place on this event please contact ACT on Tel: 01228 817 592 or Email: info@cumbriaaction.org.uk.

ACT is encouraging everyone to take part in Village Halls Week, whether your local hall is organising something special, you’re heading there for your usual group or activity, or you simply want to say thank you to the volunteers running your local hall - post it on social media using #VillageHallsWeek and tag @ACTCumbria. Also use the ‘Throwback Thursday’ hashtag #tbt to share your hall’s history on Thursday 23 January.

Contact ACT for more information at info@cumbriaaction.org.uk or visit the ACRE website for the national picture: www.acre.org.uk.

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