Views of village hall volunteers needed for national survey

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Village halls across Lancashire are being urged to take part in a nationwide survey which will paint a picture of the role they play at the heart of rural communities.

Rural expert ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) is carrying out the research with the help of its national network of 38 rural community councils.

Now ACRE Network member Community Futures, which runs a specialist advice service for community buildings, is encouraging the village halls across Lancashire to participate.

The survey, which runs until March 24, will help ACRE understand how
 issues such as licensing, VAT, rate relief and broadband, loss of funding and red tape are affecting village halls.

It plans to use the results in its ongoing campaign to give village halls a voice in Parliament through an 
All-Party Parliamentary Group.

Denise Partington, Community Futures chief executive, said: “As more and more rural services disappear, village halls play an increasingly important role in our communities, serving as a social centre, arts centre, sports centre and, in some cases, providing education, health or retail services.

“They are often the hub of community activity, providing a space for groups and services that otherwise wouldn’t exist.”

ACRE’s rural community buildings officer Deborah Clarke said:“We want village halls to take part in this survey to help us identify where they need support and increase understanding of their importance to rural life.

“We’ll use the findings to keep the work of hall volunteers and the challenges they face in the spotlight.”

For more information, contact Finlay Hodge, community cevelopment officer, at Community Futures on 01772 717461 or see ACRE’s website: