The government has launched a £3 million fund to improve village halls and help better connect rural communities across the UK.
Village hall committees can apply for grants of up to £75,000 towards refurbishment and alteration of their buildings, from improvement works on existing facilities through to new meeting rooms.
The new funding will cover 20% of the total costs of a project with a minimum grant of £10,000 and a maximum grant of £75,000 payable, and the remainder expected to come from a combination of charity reserves, fundraising, local authority funding and other grants such as the National Lottery Community Fund.
The application must be a village hall or similar rural community building and a registered charity. New build projects will not be eligible to apply to the fund due to their high costs and long timescales.
The new scheme is expected to help around 100 community building projects and was opened by Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner and Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick at the Oxton Village Hall in Nottinghamshire on 5 April.
Speaking at the launch, hosted by the Rural Community Action Nottinghamshire, Minister for Rural Affairs Lord Gardiner said:
“Village halls are the cornerstone of our rural communities. They provide vital spaces and facilities for people across the country – from fitness and social activity through to healthcare and education. I am delighted to launch officially this £3 million grant scheme for village halls, supporting these important hubs for our local communities.”
Applications to the fund will be assessed by a panel including Defra officials and Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) staff with experience of halls and grant schemes. The grant funding will be managed by ACRE on behalf of Defra and advice and support to potential applicants will be provided through the ACRE network.
More information on how to apply is available on the ACRE site.