The Role of Village Halls & Community Buildings

A Village or Community Hall is one of the most valuable assets of any community, both in the sense of the facilities and activities it provides for the wellbeing of people living in the area and its capital value.

In East and West Sussex there are some 300 village halls, most of which are charities run by dedicated volunteer trustees. Their combined capital value is worth roughly £120 million. Halls are an important contributor to the rural economy, supporting on average seven jobs, either directly (eg cleaners, caretakers) or indirectly (pre-school staff, fitness instructors, caterers). They also use local building firms, electricians and other services.

A properly maintained building of adequate size can provide facilities for social, educational and recreational activities for all ages. A well equipped and up to date hall that is accessible to all is important to maintaining the health and wellbeing of local people, especially with an ageing population and infrequent public transport.

However, managing such multi – purpose use is not without challenges and carries a burden of legislative compliance.  AirS village and community halls service is there to help volunteers and staff. We provide information, advice and support on a wide range of issues to ensure that those managing village halls have up to date advice and information so that these vital community facilities are well kept and managed and provide appropriate facilities for their community.

The main use of most community halls is by local voluntary and community organisations, but this means that income does not always match expenditure.  With above inflation rises in key running costs such as energy and insurance it is often a challenge to put aside sufficient funds for major repairs . Almost half depend on fundraising and parish council support. When it comes to major refurbishment or rebuilding external grant funding is usually required.  AirS can assist volunteers with locating and applying for funding.

Further information about village halls can be found in the six reports of the ACRE National Village Halls Survey 2009 which can be downloaded from the ACRE website.

“Supporting rural communities in Sussex to be vibrant and diverse places in which to live and work.”