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New network for 10,000 village halls

A new online voice has been launched to represent the interests of England's 10,000 village and community halls.

The National Village and Community Halls Network will take over the role from the now closed National Village Halls Forum.

It will enable village and community hall trustees, volunteers and councillors to feed into meetings with MPs, government departments and Consultation responses.

The National Village Halls Forum was the voice of around 90,000 volunteers running village and community halls for almost 35 years.

Former forum chairman Alan West said: “The forum had difficulty recruiting new younger officers and raising funds but still felt there was an important role to be played in speaking out.”

Mr West said this was particularly the case when faced with tax, finances and legislation that was likely to adversely affect the management of community facilities.

The network will focus on four priorities:

* VAT on extensions and alterations and the possibility of a VAT Refund Scheme
* How funding might best be sought for capital improvements
* Long-term advice and support for volunteers managing buildings
* The disproportionate charge for music copyright licenses where music is rarely played

Mr West said: “We intend to continue this important work through the National Village and Community Halls Network.”

The new network is being hosted by Action with Communities in Rural England and sponsored by insurance brokers Norris and Fisher.

Hall management committees and other organisations and individuals with an interest in village halls are invited to sign up to the network.

They will be able to share good practice and experiences with other like-minded members as well as contributing to the development of appropriate legislation and regulation.


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