ACRE to research impact of Covid-19 on village halls

by Phillip Vincent, Action with Communities in Rural England

Follow up to the 2020 Village Halls Survey will focus on what’s changed.

When CCB’s national bocy Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) conducted a survey of England’s 10,000+ village halls last February, little was known about Coronavirus. And yet, within a month of the research being undertaken, the world had changed. Almost all of the halls surveyed closed their doors for the first time in a century – and many remain closed due to national lockdown restrictions.

One year on, there is a sense of optimism and hope that things can return to normal. But there is an urgent need to understand how the pandemic has impacted halls and the support needed by volunteers to help them reopen these rural community buildings.

There is an urgent need to understand how the pandemic has impacted halls and the support needed by volunteers to help them reopen these rural community buildings
Deborah Clarke, ACRE’s Rural Evidence and Village Halls Manager explained, “We have lots of anecdotal evidence to believe many village halls have shown great resilience in response to Covid-19. By conducting a follow up survey of halls who participated in the 2020 research, we can track changes to their income, services delivered, governance arrangements and support needs.”

The follow up research will be undertaken by researchers from the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University.

Over 2,000 halls responded to the 2020 Village Halls Survey, providing an important snapshot in time. These halls will be contacted to answer some follow up questions in the next few weeks.

Evidence captured from the follow-up survey will help ACRE make proposals to government for developing the national village halls support service operated by 38 county-based member charities.

Village halls are valuable buildings that support a diverse range of community activities from exercise classes to coffee mornings and are routinely hired out for private parties and weddings. Some also host community shops and post offices.

Further information

Read more about the original National Village Hall Survey Report 2020 here.

If you completed the survey in 2020 and don’t receive information or a link from ACRE to complete the follow-on survey, please email d.clarke@acre.org.uk

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