North, South and West Yorkshire’s village halls to be recognised for providing warm, welcoming, and inclusive spaces
Village Halls Week 2023 (23 – 29 January) will celebrate the many ways these volunteer-run rural community buildings support local residents, groups and businesses, particularly during difficult times.
The current cost of living crisis means that now, more than ever, rural communities rely on their local village hall as a place to keep warm, access basic services and socialise without the expense of travelling elsewhere.
Village halls across North, South and West Yorkshire will be taking part in the national campaign week, showcasing what they are doing for their community, and the opportunities they provide that would not otherwise exist. Some, like Topcliffe and Asenby Village Hall near Thirsk, have been providing a weekly Community Warm Place every Wednesday. Everyone is invited to come along for lunch and to donate what they feel they can afford, or nothing at all. Norton Village Hall in Doncaster run a coffee morning every week, welcoming people from the neighbourhood into a warm space. In Cayton, their Jubilee Hall hold a free Thursday lunch and drop in, which sees around 40 people coming through the door each week.
Research conducted by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), who organise the annual campaign, found that in 60% of countryside areas, community buildings are the only place for local people to socialise.
Aside from hosting a wide range of social and recreational activities for residents, the community venues also host vital services such as post offices, doctors’ surgeries and convenience shops, while supporting an estimated 50,000 people whose livelihoods depend on use of these buildings.
Jane Colthup, Chief Executive of Community First Yorkshire, said, “Village halls are the beating heart of the community. Many are working extra hard right now to provide warm spaces for people who need them in the current economic climate. Village Halls Week gives us a chance to celebrate the way that they have adapted to provide warm, welcoming, and inclusive spaces and applaud the contribution they make to our communities.”
Community First Yorkshire provides support and advice to village halls across North, South and West Yorkshire, including providing training, resources and bespoke one to one support. The organisation is the Rural Community Council for North, South and West Yorkshire and a strong advocate for rural issues.
#VillageHallsWeek takes place from Monday 23 to Sunday 29 January 2023.