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£3m fund to improve village halls launched

A £3m fund to improve village halls and better connect rural communities has been launched by the government.

Village hall committees are now able to apply for grants of up to £75,000 towards refurbishment and alteration of their buildings, from improvement works on existing facilities through to new meeting rooms, and it’s expected the fund will help 100 projects get off the ground.

Applicants must show how the money will improve health and wellbeing in their community, reduce loneliness, improve the environment or support the local rural economy.

The government says the funding will cover 20% of the total costs of a project, with the remaining funding coming from a combination of charity reserves, fundraising, local authority funding and other grants such as the National Lottery Community Fund.

The application must be a village hall or similar rural community building and a registered charity. New build projects will not be eligible to apply to the fund due to their high costs and long timescales.

Speaking at the launch, hosted by the Rural Community Action Nottinghamshire, Minister for Rural Affairs Lord Gardiner said:  ‘Village halls are the cornerstone of our rural communities. They provide vital spaces and facilities for people across the country – from fitness and social activity through to healthcare and education.’

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick added: ‘Village halls are the heart of rural communities. This £3 million will help ensure that people living in villages across the country will be able to enjoy these important assets for many years to come.

‘Many village halls were built as memorials to local people who lost their lives in the first world war and this funding is part of our national commemoration of the centenary of the armistice.’

Applicants can apply for funding here.

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter

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