Independent charity Devon Communities Together is also carrying out the first ever audit of Devon’s village halls to understand their stories – from their achievements to their struggles – which will result in a first ever asset map of these vital community facilities.

The aim of the initiative is to celebrate the value of village halls and what they mean to their communities, but also to understand what support they need and what potential they may have for providing additional services in the future. The audit is funded by Devon Communities Together in partnership with Devon Public Health and DEFRA.

Devon Communities Together has a rich history of working with community buildings, having supported their creation, redevelopment and operation for over 60 years, through a dedicated village halls support service.

Devon Communities Together’s Project Manager Charlotte Squire explains: “As the Rural Community Council for Devon we have witnessed over the past six decades how important village halls are for their communities. These buildings, often operated by volunteers, offer so much to their communities. Through our audit it’s amazing to celebrate these successes as well as look to the future and imagine what else they could be, for example could they be health hubs, hosting visiting NHS services and supporting access to digital healthcare? Could they have electric car charging points? How can they become more energy efficient? What support do they need?

“We hope that the evidence we produce through this programme will help to shape future support services and even funding opportunities. There are over 400 halls in Devon, and we’d like to speak to as many as possible – there’s even a chance of winning money for your Village Hall just by taking part! What better time to get involved than Village Halls Week?”