Bunbury Village Hall has praised Cheshire Community Action (CCA) for its support throughout the pandemic in helping to keep the local community hub afloat.

David Ellis, treasurer and trustee at Bunbury Village Hall, says: “Like many village halls the pandemic and lockdowns presented us with huge challenges. Obviously we had to close last March and lost much-needed income during lockdown. We were very concerned about the future of the hall, which has been part of the community since the 1880’s.

“It was virtually impossible to navigate government guidance, which was and still is continually changing. But thanks to Cheshire Community Action’s invaluable advice we were able to reopen and be whole-heartedly confident that we were fully Covid-secure, and we’ve been busier than ever!

“Within a week of announcing we could open safely at the end of the first lockdown, we had filled 14 of the 15 sessions we have available, which has never happened before in the entire history of the hall. We even had six new bookings!

“It’s been an enormous challenge to convince people that it’s safe, but Cheshire Community Action’s support and the guidance from their national body ACRE, has proven vital in helping us achieve this. We simply would not have been able to reopen between lockdowns without them.

“We have had to, of course, operate at a much reduced capacity. We’ve gone from a maximum capacity of 120 to 28, but we’re thrilled that we’re able to continue to offer a home for crucial community groups – from yoga classes and ballroom dancing to parenting support groups and judo lessons – in what has been a difficult period for so many.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming our community back once lockdown take three is lifted and it’s safe to operate again!”

Cheshire Community Action’s community buildings support service has helped more than 90 village halls and community buildings throughout the pandemic by offering continued guidance to help them operate safely.  

Chris Davenport, who runs CCA’s community buildings advice service, adds: “It’s been a very challenging time for our community buildings members, but we’re glad that our guidance and advice has helped so many from the brink of permanent closure. Bunbury Village Hall is a perfect example of this and they weren’t even a CCA member prior to the pandemic.

“The last eight months have shown us all just how important it is that we come together as communities to support each other and these hubs of the community are a crucial part of that. We want to ensure that they are here for future generations to rely upon and enjoy.”

For more information about how CCA can support your community building contact Chris Davenport on 01244 400222 or email buildings@cheshireaction.org.uk.