The Village Halls Small Grants Fund is provided by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and administered by the charity Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE).
This is the latest release of the £3 million Platinum Jubilee Village Halls Fund announced by government in May 2022 in celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee, and it is designed to help the volunteers running village halls make easy steps towards capital improvements.
The fund reopened earlier this month to new applicants who wish to undertake smaller projects such as disability access, toilet upgrades and new kitchens.
Grants of between £2,000 and £5,000 are available to cover 20% of the eligible capital project costs including the VAT. There is no upper limit for the total capital costs. Smaller projects will be prioritised. All project work must be complete before the end of March 2025.
The funding will support capital improvements only, where projects aim to upgrade, extend, or improve facilities and to purchase capital items.
Applications will be accepted from the following legal entities:
- Registered charities
- Charitable trusts.
- Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs).
- Community Associations which are registered charities.
- Multi-purpose Church Halls, Scout and Guide buildings are also eligible where they are open for the whole community, there is no alternative village hall in the vicinity, they are not single use and they are clearly advertised as multi-purpose.
- Charitable Companies.
To be eligible, the village hall must:
- Be charity owned and managed by the community.
- Be located in a local rural area with a population of less than 10,000 people.
- Have a freehold or leasehold in place. If a leasehold interest, there must be at least 21 years left to run on the lease.
Commenting, Village Halls Manager at ACRE, Deborah Clarke, said:
“With increasing energy costs and the cost-of-living crisis, the need to have warm, welcoming and accessible spaces open to everyone has become ever more important in the countryside. Often village halls are the only place where people can meet and socialise locally, and they provide a venue from which many self-employed people earn a livelihood.”
The fund is open from 1 February 2024 until December 2024, or until available funding is fully allocated.