Vibrant village halls2024-05-15T14:58:20+00:00

Vibrant village halls

England’s 10,000+ village halls are at the heart of rural community life. Through a network of skilled advisers, we offer a nationwide advice and information service for the volunteers who manage these important community buildings.

Many village halls were built after the First World War. Set up in a concerted national effort to develop social and educational provision in rural areas, they have adapted over the years to provide a space for many activities from exercises classes, playgroups and weddings to hosting vital services such as post offices, doctors’ surgeries and shops. Quite often, they are the only place for people to meet and socialise locally. They also sustain an estimated 50,000 livelihoods connected with use of the venue.

These buildings are almost entirely managed by volunteers. Based on our last national survey of village halls, we estimate 80,000 people regularly volunteer their time to keep these important community assets alive. But this is no easy task. Running a hall requires good governance, funding and an ability to negotiate red tape. Around half of halls say they find it difficult to recruit new committee members.

Through a network of skilled advisers, ACRE coordinates a nationwide information and advice service for village halls. Advisers are based in every rural county of England and combine their specialist knowledge of running community buildings with local knowledge.

Village hall advisers help with a wide range of queries, from holding AGMs to recruiting volunteers, applying for funding and building relationships with councils. Contact details for advisers can be found in the ACRE Member Directory.

Nationally, ACRE researches and develops information and delivers training to enable village halls advisers to provide a top-notch service, as well as campaigning to raise an awareness of the contribution that halls make to rural communities, and the support needed to keep them going. This includes work with the Charity Commission to ensure model documents are up to date.

ACRE manages grants and loans to help groups with renovation, refurbishment and building projects. And in 20 counties, our members use our quality standards scheme for village halls – Hallmark – which rewards and recognises good practice.

We continue to press policy makers to recognise the unique social value of village halls to rural communities and safeguard their future.

In the past few years, we have been fortunate enough to secure government grant funding to support capital improvements to buildings. This is important because despite being largely self-sufficient in terms of meeting operating costs, village hall committees struggle to raise funds for repair and renovation projects. Many halls are making use of grants to bring their buildings up to date, improve their offer to residents and save energy.

But it’s not all about funding. We also advocate for a regulatory environment that reduces red tape and helps village hall management committees to better manage their venues, for example successfully pressing for VAT relief on the installation of Energy Saving Materials in charitable buildings, and calling on the government to be proportionate in its introduction of Martyn’s Law.

View our specific policy recommendations for the next government here.

ACRE Network Case Study – Carrshield Village Hall, Northumberland

Find out how the rural community of Carrshield in Northumberland turned an old mine building into a warm, welcoming and inclusive village hall

Village Hall Sponsors

ACRE’s village halls and information service is made possible by a mix of grant funding and corporate sponsorship.

We are grateful to the following organisations for their generous support of the information and advice service.

We welcome new partners to work with, especially those who are able to offer specialist goods and services to village hall committees. For more information, please email

Publications and resources