Village halls must become the centre of community life once more if loneliness is to be tackled in rural communities, says a charity which is seeking to encourage just that with a new project.
The Yorkshire Post is raising the profile of the burden of loneliness on people in our region in a bid to encourage communities and local authorities to act, and the Community Friendly Buildings initiative by Rural Action Yorkshire intends to empower communities to take the lead in combating the situation locally.
Leah Swain, the charity’s chief officer, said: “Many village halls in rural areas are already working extremely hard to maintain their buildings and activities, but sometimes the needs of older and vulnerable people are missed.
“This project will support halls to identify what else they can be doing to reach this often-invisible population, meaning more income for the upkeep of their buildings, and reduced rates of loneliness and isolation in the community. Halls are the best way of reaching these social groups as they often form the heart of thriving communities.”
The charity’s project is inspired by the success of another scheme, the Community Hubs project, which attempted to establish seven village halls as the hearts of their communities over the last two years with funds from North Yorkshire County Council.
The new project aims to help village halls across the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby districts to develop more local services and activities that will benefit older people and those at risk of social exclusion with a £10,000 grant from the area’s clinical commissioning group.