Capital grants are available for village halls in rural areas across England to enhance, upgrade, extend, improve, and construct halls so that, as a result, new activities can take place bringing communities together.
Launched just before Christmas, the new £3 million Platinum Jubilee Village Halls Fund is provided by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and administered by the charity Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE).
Announced by Defra to mark the occasion of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee in May 2022, the fund recognises the important role that village halls play in supporting rural communities.
The funding aims to support the modernisation and improvement of village halls, so that they are fit for purpose and can provide activities which seek to achieve one or more of the following outcomes for their communities:
- Improved health and/or wellbeing and/or reduction in rural loneliness.
- Positive impact on the local environment, contributes towards net zero.
- Support for the local rural economy.
- Promotion of community cohesion.
The £3 million funding pot offers grants of between £7,500 and £75,000 which will be 20% of eligible project costs. The total project cost can be more than £375,000 but the maximum grant available is £75,000. All project work must be completed by 31 March 2025.
The grants are for capital improvements only, where projects aim to either upgrade, extend or improve facilities or where capital items need to be purchased. This could include, for example, extensions, internal reconfigurations, new roof and roof refurbishment, refurbishment of toilets and kitchens, damp proofing, or new installation of communication systems. The grants cannot be used for maintenance, repair or renewal work.
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.
There is a two-stage application process.
The deadline for the first round of Stage 1 applications is midnight 20 January 2023. The fund will then close and reopen to new applicants on 20 February 2023. The duration of this will depend, however, on the value of unallocated funds remaining.
How To Apply
Applications are made in a two-stage process:
- Stage 1 applications include basic information about the organisation, local community and the project proposed to determine eligibility.
- Organisations successful at Stage One will be invited to submit a Stage 2 application.
The deadline for the first round of Stage 1 applications is midnight 20 January 2023.
The fund will then close and reopen to new applicants on 20 February 2023.
The online Stage 1 application form along with fund documentation, including the fund criteria, application guidance, faqs and stage 1 application questions can be found on ACRE’s website.