Village Halls Week: A celebration of rural communities

National Charity Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) and their 38 member organisations including Connecting Communities in Berkshire are running a week long campaign ( 22nd to 28th January) celebrate England’s 10,000 Village Halls.

Village Halls are an integral part of rural communities but are often overlooked. Think back over the years; birthday parties, christenings, weddings and funerals. Key moments in our lives – all treading the boards of our Village Halls.

This year we think about how Village Halls provide a space for communities to come together, something ever more pertinent with the rising number of people effected by loneliness.

Wokingham Without Parish Council, working in partnership with Wokingham Borough Council and Places Leisure, is establishing a ‘fit for life’ fitness class for local residents over 55, with a focus on those who’ve not exercised before, or are trying to get back into fitness. There’s also a strong emphasis on promoting good mental health, with a social / interaction element, as the class will be followed by an opportunity for a tea / coffee and a healthy snack, and a chance to meet and get to know the other participants and make new friends.  

Free trial session on Wednesday 23rd January then; £3 per week for 12 weeks. 10.45 am – 12.15 pm  St Sebastian’s Memorial Hall, Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham, RG40 3BA

Rural communities in particular are seeing diminishing services and social areas, such as the closing of pubs and shops. When these community spaces disappear, it becomes harder to connect, meet new people and have that much needed interaction.

ACRE and Connecting Communities in Berkshire believe Village Halls play a huge part in tackling these issues, for example providing community shops and pop up pubs where there are none, as well as social groups for older and younger people alike.

From the 22 January to the 28 January 2019, every county will see a series of events to bring people together and celebrate these crucial rural spaces. The campaign is supported by Defra with an appearance in the week from Lord Gardiner of Kimble.

Events include performances from Ian McMillan, renowned poet and broadcaster and children’s author and illustrator Steve Antony.

In addition, the NRTF has commissioned stand-up poet Kate Fox to write and perform a piece celebrating village halls.

For a full list of events visit the ACRE Website: www.acre.org.uk

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