Rural communities in Lincolnshire to celebrate 100 years of village halls

Village Halls Week 2021 will recognise the contribution England’s 10,000-plus halls have made to rural communities since the 1920s.

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The national campaign week - now in its fourth year – is set to take place between January 25-29, and will feature online events, videos, podcasts, and blogs showcasing the history of village halls and the benefits they have derived for rural communities over the years.

In Lincolnshire, there will be a virtual cluster meeting on Wednesday January 27, starting at 6.30pm.

The initiative is being championed locally by Community Lincs (part of YMCA Lincolnshire), a charity that provides support and advice to 440 village halls found across the county.

Samantha Smith, Village Halls Advisor for Lincolnshire, said: “The past year has been one of the most challenging periods for our Lincolnshire village hall committees. “Village Halls are a vital hub for our rural county and we estimate over 4000 people volunteer to run and maintain halls for our local communities.

“Many halls closed due the government’s coronavirus restrictions and some still remain closed now, yet the dedication of all our volunteers has been an inspiration. “Village Halls Week gives us a chance to say a collective “thank-you” to all everyone involved in their local village hall.”

Managed by volunteers, England’s 10,000-plus village and community halls support a diverse range of community activities from exercise classes to coffee mornings and are routinely hired out for private parties and weddings. Some host community shops and post offices.

In a survey undertaken by national charity Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) last year, it was found that 60 per cent of village halls provide the only meeting space in the local community.

An estimated 50,000 individuals too are reliant on the use of village halls to make a living.

Phillip Vincent, Public Affairs and Communications Manager for ACRE, said: “The current national lockdown means we are having to doing things differently for Village Halls Week 2021. This will be an online affair but there’s still good opportunity for village halls to get involved and join us in celebrating all the work they do.

“We’ve published a programme that invites people to join online events, share stories on social media, and sign a ‘doomsday book’ which will be a record of village halls in their centenary year.”

Information about Village Halls Week 2021 in Lincolnshire can be found on the Community Lincs part of YMCA Lincolnshire website (www.communitylincs.com).

Further information about the national campaign is available from ACRE’s website: https://acre.org.uk/our-work/village-halls-week.php