On Monday 20 January Village Halls Week launched in style at The House of Commons.
The Launch event signalled the start of Village Halls Week, sponsored by Utility Aid and Allied Westminster and supported by Defra and the NRTF, and involving representatives of halls and the ACRE Network. The Event gained much media attention and was successful in raising the profile of the event with MPs and Lords alike. The week actively engaged 18 MPs and attracted coverage from Countryfile, national Newspapers and resulted in #villagehallsweek trending on Twitter.
2020 saw the 3rd year for ACRE’s national campaign Village Halls Week. Over 700 halls registered to celebrate. The support for village halls, their services, volunteers and their importance to their communities was overwhelming. We were delighted to see halls receive visits from their MPs and be featured in local and national news papers as well as be featured on 18 BBC stations.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the week, there was an huge increase of interest which gained substantial and positive attention for village halls all over the country.
About an hour in to this BBC Radio Leeds show you can hear our own Leah Swain championing the importance of village halls and #VillageHallsWeek.
As part of raising awareness for Village Halls Week here we highlighted two interesting halls within Yorkshire.
Farndale Village Hall
Community First Yorkshire worked with Farndale Village Hall to help them become more accessible and provide more services for the community to help overcome some of the challenges of rural isolation. Read about it here.
Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall
Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall is different – possibly unique – in that it is shared between two communities on opposite sides of the River Swale, in different parishes, different boroughs (Hambleton and Harrogate), different county divisions and even different parliamentary constituencies.
Andrew Eckersely, Chairman, says “Topcliffe & Asenby village hall is a huge part of our community. It was built in 1961 and has been the hub of Topcliffe and Asenby villages ever since. It plays host to social gatherings, fitness classes, and more. Things just wouldn’t happen in Topcliffe and Asenby if we didn’t have our hall and our dedicated volunteers that keep it going. These divides [of physical and geographical boundaries] have not created any barriers between the two communities of Topcliffe and Asenby and that is why we’re coming together to celebrate the history of our hall and the vital service it provides to local people.”
As part of Village Halls Week they hosted an open day on Saturday 25 January with guest Kevin Hollinrake MP who reminded us of Winston Churchill’s words “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”.
Congratulations to Doug, Malcolm and Judith for for a lovely interview on BBC Radio York (about 1hr20 and 2hr36 in).
Here’s what a few of our other Yorkshire halls got up to:
Oswaldkirk Village Hall
Oswaldkirk started #VillageHallsWeek with a keep fit session, then moved on to include pilates, dance, indoor bowls and #ThrowbackThursday and ended with a pop up pub Robbie Burns style!
Aberford Village Hall
We met this lovely resident at Aberford Village Halls extended Friday community cafe where West Yorkshire Police gave home security information, there was a felting workshop and an art display by Aberford Primary School. What a community hub.
Gilling East Village Hall
Showcased their hall beautifully with a weeks worth of activities, including a coffee morning in aid of the Samaritans, bingo night, throwback Thursday, tree planting, art groups and exercise classes. They were also featured in this article by Zurich Municipal on village halls responding to the climate crisis.
Cookridge Village Hall
Hosted an open day on Saturday where Alex Sobel MP opened proceedings and chatted to visitors while viewing the History of our Hall event. The event also included a pop up cafe, live band, UA3 activities, childrens activities, amateur dramatics, art demonstrations, crafts, needlework, photography and more. A very busy day had by all.
Rainton with Newby Village Hall as well as showcasing what goes on in their hall, Rainton with Newby focussed on a throwback week, delving in to the history of the hall and encouraging residents to share their wonderful memories.
Goathland Village Hall showcased what they had to offer, how the hall could be used and finished the week off with a not a Burns night Burns night event!
Coxwold Village Hall invited residents in on Saturday for tea and cake to show what their hall has to offer.
Links to articles