Village halls across England are being given extra time take part in an online survey which will paint a picture of the vital role they play at the heart of rural communities.
Rural expert ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) is carrying out the research with the help of its nationwide network of specialist village hall advisers.
The charity is delighted with the level of response – 1,255 completed surveys have been received so far – and is extending the deadline to March 31.
We want village halls to take part in this survey to help us identify where they need support and increase understanding of their importance to rural life."
The survey will help ACRE understand how topical issues such as licensing, VAT, rate relief and broadband are affecting England’s 10,000 village halls and the 80,000 volunteers who manage them.
ACRE also wants to know how halls bring communities together through a wide range of activities – from keep fit, bowling and Brownies to choirs, cookery classes and dog training.
The survey will update previous detailed research carried out by ACRE in 2009.
ACRE, the national voice for England’s 38 rural community councils, plans to use the results in its ongoing campaign to give village halls a voice in Parliament through an All-Party Parliamentary Group.
ACRE’s Rural Community Buildings Officer Deborah Clarke said: “We’re delighted with the survey response so far and know there are some village halls who want to take part but have missed the deadline. We hope that by giving them extra time, we’ll include the views of as many volunteers as possible.
“We want village halls to take part in this survey to help us identify where they need support and increase understanding of their importance to rural life. We’ll use the findings to keep the work of hall volunteers and the challenges they face in the spotlight.”