Special celebration of vital role our village halls play

Poet Ian McMillan. Picture by Adrian Mealing
Poet Ian McMillan. Picture by Adrian Mealing

Northumberland communities are making preparations to celebrate the forthcoming Village Halls Week to mark the vital role they play.

The celebration, which kicks off on Tuesday, January 22, was created last year by ACRE Network, England’s largest network of rural community support organisations, and was hailed a huge success.

Stannington Village Hall

Stannington Village Hall

The purpose of the week is to say a collective thank-you to all volunteers who work tirelessly to keep community buildings and village halls open for the benefit of local residents.

Stannington Village Hall will host the main celebration event on January 23 for village halls volunteers across the county, organised by Community Action Northumberland (CAN).

Poet Ian McMillan will be speaking at the event, helping celebrate the true value of village halls and will recite a specially-written Northumberland poem.

There will be displays from village halls detailing recent projects, including building works, refurbishments and heritage projects.

The event will also see the launch of CAN’s Northumberland Village Halls Heritage Project, which will build on the extensive history of our village halls and the communities they serve.

Many village halls are also planning their own events during the week, ranging from coffee mornings to heritage displays about their buildings.

There are 10,000 village halls and other community buildings in England’s rural communities, of which 240 can be found right across Northumberland. They play a key role in reducing isolation in rural communities through providing a meeting place for local residents.

CAN provides a community buildings service offering support and advice for trustees managing community buildings, led by community initiatives officer Louise Currie, who said: “We are proudly supporting the #villagehallsweek so we can celebrate the network of halls we have locally, champion the services they offer to their communities and say a big thank-you to the volunteers at the heart of it all.”

It is hoped it will also inspire others to support their own hall, or even volunteer to help it. For a full list of events and support available, visit www.ca-north.org.uk/news/villagehallsweek2019