Cheshire has around 300 community buildings, most of which are charities run by dedicated volunteer trustees.
These buildings are becoming increasingly important for maintaining the health and wellbeing of our local communities, especially given our ageing population, declining rural services and increasing levels of social isolation. They also contribute significantly to the rural economy, supporting local businesses and in some cases, offering local employment opportunities. Some of our village halls double up as a local cinema, post office, sports hall and pub. Some even offer beautiful wedding venues!
However, managing these buildings can be challenging for their management committees in terms of the costs involved and legislation which must be complied with. Buildings must meet fire regulations and health and safety requirements and they must have the correct licences and safeguarding procedures in place. Key running costs such as energy and insurance can take up significant levels of income, often leaving very little funding for improvements or major repairs. Many halls depend on fundraising, grants and parish council support just to keep their doors open.
When it comes to major refurbishment or rebuilding a hall, external grant funding is almost always required.
We can assist with locating and applying for funding and in the last few years, we’ve helped to raise nearly £1million in grants for building enhancements.
Our service is backed-up by a wide support network, including our umbrella organisation, ACRE (Action for Communities in Rural England), and nearly forty village hall advisors across England – so if we don’t know the answer to a question, we should be able to find someone who does!