It’s Village Halls Week – from 22 – 25 January

“Vital local service kept alive by dedicated volunteers”

The ACRE Network, England’s largest network of rural community support organisations is running the first ever #VillageHallsWeek, starting Monday 22 January 2018. This is a week-long celebration to say a collective “thank-you” to all volunteers who work tirelessly to keep community buildings and village halls open for the benefit of residents living in rural communities.

ACRE and the ACRE Network are encouraging volunteers managing England’s 10,000 halls to use #VillageHallsWeek on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to promote the wide range of activities and services provided in their hall. Groups and individuals using the hall can share photographs, stories and networking events with others during #VillageHallsWeek to demonstrate the valuable role of the volunteers in keeping these community-hubs alive and thriving.

Catherine Russell, Village Halls Adviser from ACRE Network member, the Community Council of Staffordshire said

“We are proud to support the volunteers running community buildings in our area. Without their dedication, skill and expertise 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 services they offer to their community and thank the volunteers at the heart of all that goes on.”

As part of the week-long celebration, the Community Council of Staffordshire will be focussing its campaign on the opportunities that come from Staffordshire halls being digitally connected. So we are asking all village hall committees to send us links to their websites, Facebook and Twitter pages. We will include the links on our website and will follow them on our social media feeds, which will help to promote the activities taking place in village halls across the county.

We are also asking for photographs and short stories illustrating how well used and loved halls are, success stories about receiving grant aid, local fundraising or volunteers helping to improve halls, which we will include on our website and in our social media posts.

It is hoped that this week of celebration will also inspire others to support their own hall, or even volunteer to help it. Members of the ACRE Network, as the first point of contact for volunteers involved with village halls, will also be running events during #VillageHallsWeek visit to find out more.

Richard Quallington, Executive Director of ACRE said

“These community assets are the heart of rural areas. They provide a space to host vital services, which can then be accessed locally. There are 10,000 village halls in rural England where you get health services, use child care facilities, take part in sports and recreation, attend social events, buy stamps and get money out at post offices, browse local archives and borrow books from the library. The ACRE Network has worked to support this network of assets, worth £3bn and run entirely by volunteers for the past century. We are delighted that those who give up their time, for free, to run these facilities will now have their week in the spotlight. Join us for #VillageHallsWeek and add your voice to the celebrations”