What does the village hall mean to your village?
Village halls are a vital part of village life in the smaller communities of Suffolk and Essex.
David Emerson, chair of leading rural network ACRE, is to be a keynote speaker at an event in Suffolk this week, highlighting the vital importance of village halls at the heart of the community.
As part of a national campaign week to celebrate the 10,000 village halls throughout the UK, David Emerson and other speakers will stress that halls are particularly valuable at a time of increasing social isolation and diminishing of local services.
Being led by Community Action Suffolk, and to be staged at Westhorpe Village Hall on Friday January 25, the event will also feature talks from those involved in the recent regeneration project at the hall.
Community Action Suffolk engages with some 480 community buildings and village halls across Suffolk, which provide crucial hubs for social connections, networking, learning opportunities, celebrations, and community collaboration.
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There are more than 350 village halls alone, of which 12 have been rebuilt since 2005 with many others being refurbished and upgraded to better meet the needs locally.
Some are homes to local parish councils and WIs, playgroups and youth organisations, history groups and sports clubs, as well as entertainment, family parties and other celebrations.
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Late last year Community Action Suffolk held its annual Village Halls Conference, at which trustees, operations managers, and parish councillors represented the large number of venues across the county. They emphasised the importance and value of maintaining Village Halls in rural communities and welcomed the news from Autumn budget of an £8m investment for village halls.
Pete Richardson, CEO of Community Action Suffolk, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming David Emerson to the region this week.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to have someone of such influence and passion meet with members of the community and learn about the valuable role our buildings play in life here in Suffolk.
“At Community Action Suffolk, we have been pleased to support a number of community building projects in recent months, including helping to leverage in £216,521 for village hall improvements.”
For more information about similar events, or the wider services of Community Action Suffolk, please go to www.communityactionsuffolk.org.uk