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Rural communities in Cambridgeshire to celebrate 100 years of village halls

12 January 2021

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

The national campaign week (now in its 4th year) is set to take place from 25 to 29 January 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.

The initiative is being championed locally by Cambridgeshire ACRE, a charity that provides support and advice to 280 village halls found across the county. Locally, village halls are being encouraged to join an online regional conference on 25 January for those who run village halls. More information here

Kirsten Bennett, Chief Executive said, “The past year has been one of the most challenging periods for village halls on record. Many closed due the government's coronavirus restrictions, yet the volunteers who manage these buildings applied for emergency funding and put in place Covid secure measures so they could carry on providing a safe space for their community when it was most needed. Village Halls Week 2021 is in many ways, a celebration of the fact these halls are true survivors.”

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 percent of village halls provide the only meeting space in their 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 and share stories on social media.”

Information about Village Halls Week 2021 in Cambridgeshire can be found on Cambridgeshire ACRE's website. Further information about the national campaign is available from ACRE's website.

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