Devon’s Village Halls need more funds to provide vital services to rural communities, according to recent report.

There are more than 440 Village Halls across Devon, from much-loved historic halls to all-singing, all-dancing new builds and everything in between, all of which provide something unique but equally important to their rural communities.

Independent charity Devon Communities Together (DCT), has visited and audited 290 halls (with visits continuing into 2024) as part of a first-of-its-kind initiative to create a Community Asset Map of Devon’s Village Halls. Thanks to funding from DEFRA, Devon County Council and NHS Devon, the DCT team set out to uncover the challenges these community facilities are facing, as well as their potential to offer even more to their communities - with appropriate support. The recently published ‘End of Year One Report’, is available on their website, brings together the evidence and insights gained from the first 290 participating Halls.

Based on the audit data, it indicates that Village Halls in Devon offer their rural communities social, recreational, physical and mental wellbeing activities on their doorstep. With an ageing population, such local opportunities to socialise/exercise/be creative can be a lifeline to reduce loneliness and social isolation. With so many closures of rural pubs, shops and post offices the social interactions that used to naturally take place when queuing for your pint of milk no longer happen. Without a Village Hall, the last of these social lifelines would be lost.