Role of village halls in fighting loneliness goes under spotlight

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The VITAL role village halls play in combating loneliness and isolation in rural communities will be examined at an event in Hambleton later this month.

Rural Action Yorkshire’s Community Friendly Buildings project has been working to assess the needs of people running community building and identify any gaps in provision caused by public spending cuts.

The project, which is funded by the Hambleton, Richmond and Whitby CCG, aims to stimulate activity in community buildings, make them more accessible to vulnerable members of the community and ultimately combat loneliness and isolation in rural communities.

The event, at Danby Wiske Village Hall on Wednesday July 22, is open to representatives from village and church halls across the Hambleton, Scarborough and Richmondshire districts and will include looking funding streams and how groups can maximise their chances of securing grants.

There will also be discussions focusing on community engagement, mapping community assets, and digital inclusion in rural areas, including how providing IT training in your venue may increase both usage and accessibility, and how to go about doing this.

Event planner Tina Chamberlain, from Rural Action Yorkshire, said: “From our work and speaking to people out and about it has become clear that they want support around stimulating activity, finding out what funding might be available to them, and planning for long-term sustainability. We have put together this event in Danby Wiske to assist with this and also look at how improving hall accessibility can also impact on future successes.

“Some halls suffer from a lack of activities, lack of funds, or lack of volunteers. In order to preserve our village halls, we need to look at how we tackle these issues and ensure that they know that support is out there and it need not be something to struggle with in isolation.”

There will also be a member of North Yorkshire County Council’s Stronger Communities team, speaking about potential support and funding volunteers can access through the programme.

For more information email tina.chamberlain@ruralyorkshire.org.uk or call 0845 313 0270.

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