The true heart of our communities: a look at some of Shropshire’s village halls
Monday 23 January – Sunday 29 January 2023 is national Village Halls Week, and there couldn’t be a better opportunity to shine a spotlight on the venues across Shropshire which bring together our communities, provide welcoming and inclusive spaces for local people, and to highlight the hard work of those who manage, volunteer, and coordinate our village halls.
The national campaign is running for its sixth year and aims to raise awareness of the purpose and facilities halls can provide, especially during the current cost of living crisis, where many halls are doubling up as warm spaces for local people too.
One facility, Loppington Village Hall, is situated just three miles west of Wem, and has a history which dates to 1842. The hall offers a wide variety of events and activities for local people, including quizzes and live music acts.
Music events are already pencilled in for February and March, and you can see who’s playing on Loppington Village Hall’s Facebook page.
Another venue in Shropshire is Clive Village Hall, which is currently being renovated having been awarded grant funding from Shropshire Council. The Additional Resources Grant was set up to help local community organisations recover from the pandemic.
The grant funding will help refurbish the main hall used by lots of community groups.
In addition to regular clubs and meetings, Clive Village Hall also runs a postal service on Mondays and Wednesdays, to make accessing the service that little bit easier for local people.
The Additional Resources Grant also supported the renovation of Lee Brockhurst Village Hall in summer 2022.
Before the pandemic hit, the hall was near to collapse. But, thanks to the grant, the funds were able to support essential renovations to allow the hall to keep serving its visitors and local groups.
Shropshire charity Community Resource supports village halls through its events such as the Shropshire Village Halls Conference, and with its membership scheme, which allows halls to access advice on issues such as hall management, health and safety and planning for the future.
Bev Baxter, CEO of Community Resource, said:-
“Village halls are the heart of a community, providing a place for people to come together and often acting as a hub for key services that rural communities can access.
“These vital spaces are run by hard-working and passionate volunteers, and our role is to support these volunteers so that village halls can not only survive but thrive.”
Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and communities, commented:-
“Village halls are essential pillars of our communities – particularly in rural areas – as welcoming places for visitors and residents to socialise and enjoy a multitude of different activities.
“Whether it’s voting, exercising, dancing, singing, networking, baking, or just simply enjoying, thank you to all our village halls and the wonderful volunteers who run the village hall committees and organise so many fantastic events throughout the year, making them much-loved facilities in Shropshire.”