Monday 22nd January saw Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) and its Network launch its first ever #VillageHallsWeek. Action in rural Sussex (AirS) is proud to be part of this week-long celebration by highlighting the important value that Sussex village halls and community buildings have on our communities.
Sussex has over 300 village halls and community buildings and they all are crucial components in sustaining inclusive and active communities, particularly in rural areas where fewer venues and services are present. They offer communities a hub in which social interaction can occur, businesses may be supported, services may be delivered and physical activities may take place. They often act as a venue for key local services, for example libraries and post offices. Their continuing survival is due to the hard-working volunteers whose passion and dedication keep these vital buildings at the heart of many of our rural communities.
Jeremy Leggett, Chief Executive at AirS says “This is not just a chance to celebrate all our wonderful village halls, many of which can trace their roots back 100 years to just after the First World War, but also a chance to thank all the volunteers who run them, and all the people who organise the voluntary activities that happen within them.”
Across England, nearly a quarter of village halls were built before World War I, while an estimated 600 were built to commemorate WWI or the local residents who lost their lives during the War. Currently, more than 90,000 individuals, small businesses and professionals use Village Halls to earn their living, or part of it, during the year.*
* Figures compiled from ACRE research 2014