new £3 million fund to upgrade and renovate England’s village halls has been announced by the Government to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Over a three-year period, the Platinum Jubilee Village Hall Improvement Grant Fund will provide money for projects such as installing wifi, extending buildings and modernising facilities.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) said village halls are at the heart of rural life, hosting fitness classes, community groups and post office services, and the grant will allow them to attract more people by creating more contemporary spaces.
A total of 125 village halls will receive money from the fund, which Defra said will be a “lasting legacy” from the Jubilee for rural communities.
Rural affairs minister Lord Benyon said: “Village halls are the centrepiece of rural life and funding their renovation to mark the Jubilee is a fitting tribute to The Queen’s Service.
“In a changing world, they are important facilities for community groups, social clubs and local services.
“This funding will ensure they are central to the fabric of our villages for many more years to come.”
Defra said the grant will build on the success of schemes to commemorate both Queen Victoria and King George and “demonstrate that almost 200 years on, we continue to build on the legacy of the monarchy, both past and present”.
Margaret Clark, chairwoman of the Rural Coalition, said: “Village halls support important services and facilities and offer places to meet which would not otherwise be available to many rural communities.
“In doing so, they have a crucial role to play in helping levelling up in rural areas.”
David Emerson, chairman of Action with Communities in Rural England said village halls have been at the heart of rural communities for over a century, adding: “These unique volunteer run halls do so much to support the well-being of local residents, as well as helping to sustain the many livelihoods which depend on use of these important buildings.”
He said the announcement “is especially appropriate in the week that thousands of halls across the country are hosting local celebrations of the Royal Jubilee”.
Details on how the funding will be administered will be announced later.