Somerset village halls must innovate for the future says the Community Council for Somerset (CCS).

Community buildings across the county will be challenged to do something different as part of Village Halls Week 2022 and make a pledge on social media. CCS will be raising awareness of the contribution village halls make to rural communities, as well as inspiring the volunteers who run them to get creative and improve their offer to local residents.

VillageHallsWeek is taking place Monday 24 January – Sunday 30th January 2022. It will be the fifth incarnation of the popular national campaign which last year saw 800 halls complete an online ‘Domesday Book’, to mark 100 years since their foundation.

Village halls in Somerset are already doing many innovative things, such as making environmental improvements or taking steps to reduce isolation in their communities. Edington Village Hall have recently installed solar panels and Bicknoller Village Hall have put in place electric car charging points. CCS will be working with hall committees during 2022 to take further action on climate change. Stoke St Michael Village Hall set up a Community Fridge and Book Share scheme during the pandemic, and are now working to ensure their hall is accessible to all, including the installation of a new ‘Changing Places’ Toilet.

Sally Sargent, Community Buildings Adviser, said, “We’re pleased to be supporting Village Halls Week 2022 which will be a celebration of everything that village halls can, or could do, to improve their offer to the local community. With Action with Communities in Rural England, we’ve been highlighting the role and achievements of halls for some time – from combating loneliness to supporting local businesses. But this year’s campaign will be a bit different. We know there are some great examples of halls that’ve gone the extra mile by putting on new activities and services for residents, taking action on climate change or taking steps to become more financially resilient. Along with other members of the ACRE Network, we’ll be celebrating these pioneering halls and challenging others to make pledges to get similarly creative. During Village Halls Week we will be holding two online events for halls trustees focused on the bringing the arts into community buildings and addressing climate change”.

The volunteers who run these buildings – estimated to number more than 50,000 across England – are urged to contact their ACRE Network member to access a campaign pack or visit ACRE’s website where they will find more information about the campaign, along with ideas to help them get involved and a copy of the pledge form.

For your pledge documents , a FREE pdf or word document template download them here: https://ccslovesomerset.org/community-buildings/