‘Domesday Book’ set up to capture the work of village halls in their centenary year

by Phillip Vincent, Action with Communites in Rural England

Village halls in England are being encouraged to sign the online record to mark 100 years of rural community action.

The online record has been set up by national charity, Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) as part of a week-long celebration of the contribution community and village halls make to rural communities which begins Monday 25 January.

David Emerson CBE, the charity’s Chair said, “We’re delighted to announce details of our Village Halls Domesday Book published today. It is a unique opportunity for village halls up and down the country to help us create a public record of the good things they have been doing, and the difference they make to local people as we celebrate a centenary of rural community action.

We very much hope the Domesday Book will serve as a reminder of how valuable these buildings are at a time when many have been forced to close their doors due to the national lockdown.”

It is a unique opportunity for village halls up and down the country to help us create a public record of the good things they have been doing, and the difference they make to local people as we celebrate a centenary of rural community action

There are over 10,000 village and community halls to be found across England. Many were established in the 1920s when there was a national drive to improve social and educational provision in rural areas.

Today, village halls support a diverse range of community activities from exercise classes to coffee mornings and are routinely hired out for private parties and weddings. Some host community shops and post offices.

The Domesday Book is prefaced by a forward from Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs who is a long-time supporter of village halls.

ACRE intends to use the record to help make the case for sustained funding and support for village halls as the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

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