Small grants made available to village halls in England
Defra funded grant scheme reopens for those managing rural community buildings, this time with a lower award threshold of £2,000 to support smaller projects and make it accessible to more groups.
In 2023, a £3 million village halls fund was launched to provide support for the modernisation and improvement of village halls in England.
Managed by Action with Rural Communities in England (ACRE), the fund has already awarded over £1 million to rural communities, helping them undertake ambitious improvements to their building. Works undertaken or scheduled to take place include new roofs, insulation, extensions, and more energy efficient heating systems.
The grant fund is today [1 February 2024] re-opening to new applicants who wish to undertake smaller projects such as disability access, toilet upgrades and new kitchens. Grant awards of between £2,000 to £5,000, and up to 20 per cent of eligible project costs, are on offer. Project expenditure must take place before 31 March 2025.
A streamlined on-line application process and simplified eligibility criteria will make it easier for smaller projects to come forward for support. The scheme will remain open during 2024 until available funding is fully allocated.
Deborah Clarke, Village Halls Manager at ACRE said: “We hope the smaller grants on offer will help even more village hall management committees make much needed improvements to their buildings.
“With increasing energy costs and the cost-of-living crisis, the need to have warm, welcoming and accessible spaces open to everyone has become ever more important in the countryside. Often village halls are the only place where people can meet and socialise locally, and they provide a venue from which many self-employed people earn a livelihood.
“The availability of grant funding from government supports the continued use of these important rural assets.”
ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) is a charity speaking up for and supporting rural communities. It is the national body of the ACRE Network, England’s largest rural grouping of community support charities which support of initiatives that equip people with the knowledge, skills, and connections needed to improve their local community. Community First Yorkshire is the ACRE Network member for North, South and West Yorkshire.
Details about how to apply to the small grants scheme can be found here.