North Yorkshire village halls are taking steps to innovate for the future

24 January 2022
View of Sawley Village Hall from across the green
Interior shot of Craven village hall Ingleton Ingleborough event meeting
With more and more changes to technology and the way we live, village halls are working hard to make sure they’re not left behind.

Community First Yorkshire, the Rural Community Council for North, South and West Yorkshire, will be raising awareness of the contribution village halls make to rural communities, as well as inspiring the volunteers who run them to get creative and improve their offer to local residents this Village Halls Week.

#VillageHallsWeek is taking place Monday 24 – Sunday 30 January. It will be the fifth incarnation of the popular national campaign which gives village halls and community venues the chance to showcase how they are at the heart of their local communities. This year the focus is on innovating for the future. Village Halls Week is run by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), of which Community First Yorkshire is a member.

Many village halls are already doing innovative things. Some, like Hovingham village hall in North Yorkshire, have installed electric vehicle (EV) charging points to cater for residents who don’t have the opportunity to charge their cars off the street. Others are getting creative on a smaller scale but making equally important contributions to their community.

Leah Furniss, a development officer at Community First Yorkshire, said: “It’s been inspirational hearing about village halls like Hovingham. They really wanted to embrace new technology and support their community’s ambitions to be more environmentally friendly by installing an electric vehicle charging point. We’ve captured their experiences in a podcast to encourage other village halls to follow in their footsteps. Our team can support halls with every step of the process, from consulting with the community on what they would like, to helping them find and apply for funding to make their dreams a reality.”

For further information about how we can support your village hall get in touch or call 01904 704 177.

Village Halls Week is a chance to showcase some of the essential work and innovative ways that some village halls have been supporting their communities, especially over the last year:

  • Worsall village hall, Terrington village hall, and Hovingham village hall have all installed EV charge points, solar panels and energy audits to become more environmentally friendly.
  • Marsden Mechanics Hall has hosted many performing arts events, including the Christmas panto, a jazz festival and plays.
  • Monk Fryston and Hillam Community Centre’s  book group – ‘What the Dickens’ – started a month before lockdown, but its members remained upbeat and the group re-opened its doors once safe to do so.

During Village Halls Week, trustees from across North, South and West Yorkshire are invited to meet Community First Yorkshire’s community buildings. This is your opportunity to find out more about how we can support you and your hall. The virtual event (on 26 January) is open to all.

Jane Colthup, Chief Executive at Community First Yorkshire, said: “Village halls are often the beating heart of a community and this week gives us a chance to applaud the contribution they make. We know there are some great examples of halls going the extra mile by putting on new activities and services for residents, taking action on climate change or taking steps to become more financially resilient. Along with ACRE, we’ll be celebrating these pioneering halls and encouraging others to be similarly creative.”

The volunteers who run these buildings – estimated to number more than 50,000 across England – can contact Community First Yorkshire for a campaign pack or visit ACRE’s website where they will find more information about the campaign, along with ideas to help them get involved.

Twitter: @CommFirstYorks  Facebook: @Comm1stYorks