In a small rural village it often falls on the goodwill of local residents to make a difference. The volunteers who run and staff village halls, farmers markets and events do so out of a sense of pride and community - good, old British, and indeed Yorkshire, values that in many of our smaller, countryside communities have withstood the test of time.
South of the city of York are the two neighbouring villages of Ellerton and Aughton where that sense of community is embodied by those who operate their shared village hall.
Once the schoolhouse for Ellerton, it now acts as the a focal point for village events and functions, such as a Christmas craft workshop this week.
And as the season’s festivities drew nearer, a Christmas boost from a local business means the committee members who keep the venue going can look to the future with relish.
Staff from nearby St Helen’s Farm surprised volunteers at the hall this week by presenting them with a donation of £35,544 towards an upgrade of the venue’s tired facilities.
Jackie East, a marketing assistant at the farm and goats’ milk supplier in nearby Seaton Ross, nominated the village hall for the donation after seeing first-hand the impact it makes on the community.
“With amenities and funding decreasing over the years for rural villages, I wanted to nominate a local charity and worthy cause to help benefit the community,” she said.
“Ellerton and Aughton Village Hall is used for various activities like tonight’s arts and craft club making Christmas wreaths, and the funding will ensure that the village hall will get a lot more use.”
The money for the donation came from The Kavli Trust, the charitable trust which owns St Helen’s Farm and which donates profits from sales of Kavli products to good causes across the UK and abroad. Its donations support research, humanitarian and cultural projects to improve people’s lives.
Jo Pease is treasurer at Ellerton and Village Hall and explained how the funding will allow the hall to become more accessible for all ages of the local community.
“It’s an absolutely fantastic thing, we can actually make the village hall 21st century. We do some fantastic fundraising but couldn’t have hoped to have raised the amount we have received. It would have taken us 15 years to raise that.
“The funding will go towards building new disabled toilets, baby changing room facilities plus easy access in and out of the hall.
“The hall is at the centre of the community for the two villages and the donation will benefit everyone that currently attends our events.
“It will also help us plan for different events and maybe re-introduce play groups to the hall.”