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Celebrate England’s 10,000 Village Halls

National Charity Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) and their 38 member organisations are running a week long campaign to celebrate England’s 10,000 Village Halls.

Village Halls are an integral part of rural communities but are often overlooked. Think back over the years; birthday parties, christenings, weddings and funerals.

Key moments in our lives – all treading the boards of our Village Halls.

This year we think about how Village Halls provide a space for communities to come together, something ever more pertinent with the rising number of people effected by loneliness.

Rural communities in particular are seeing diminishing services and social areas, such as the closing of pubs and shops. When these community spaces disappear, it becomes harder to connect, meet new people and have that much needed interaction.

ACRE believe Village Halls play a huge part in tackling these issues, for example providing community shops and pop up pubs where there are none, as well as social groups for older and younger people alike.

From the 22 January to the 28 January 2019, every county will see a series of events to bring people together and celebrate these crucial rural spaces. The campaign is supported by Defra with an appearance in the week from Lord Gardiner of Kimble.

Events include performances from Ian McMillan, renowned poet and broadcaster and children’s author and illustrator Steve Antony.

In addition, the NRTF has commissioned stand-up poet Kate Fox to write and perform a piece celebrating village halls.

Contact Felicity Humphrey
f.humphrey@acre.org.uk
01285 700793
07842 820 592

Notes

The Launch Event will be at Little Thetford Village Hall in Cambridgeshire. Cambridgeshire ACRE will celebrate the history of Village Halls with appearances from Deputy Lieutenant Mrs Jane Lewin-Smith and the City of Ely Town Crier Mrs Avril Hayter-Smith.

Community Action Suffolk will welcome the support of Defra, with Lord Gardiner of Kimble Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity in attendance.

Community Action Northumberland welcomes Ian McMillan renowned poet, writer and radio presenter. Ian supported Village Halls Week 2018 by writing ‘A Teapot as big as The Moon’, a poem especially about Village Halls.

GRCC (Community Action in Gloucestershire) host children’s author and illustrator Steve Antony. Steve will be doing a reading of his new book ‘Amazing’ published January 2019.

Stand-up poet Kate Fox has been commissioned by the National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) to write and perform a poem. The NRTF are the membership organisation for rural touring schemes, working to bring professional performance art to rural audiences. Kate has recently made two comedy series for BBC Radio 4 called ‘The Price of Happiness’ and her comedy shows have toured from the Edinburgh Fringe to the Southbank Centre.

For a full list of events visit the ACRE Website:
www.acre.org.uk

#Villagehallsweek (22-26 Jan) is an initiative started by ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), the national voice for the country’s largest rural network, formed of 52,000 grassroots organisations in 11,000 rural communities.

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