Village and Community Halls guidance published

 Village and Community Halls Handbook
Alan Robertson

Village halls and community hubs are often the heart of rural and island communities. They are places for people to gather, learn, access services and have fun. Making sure they are well run and maintained is an important but not always easy role, often fulfilled by committed volunteers and workers.

Community hubs come in all shapes and sizes and fulfil a variety of roles within rural and island communities.  In some cases, a community hub is a multipurpose centre that provides a range of services to the local community and has the potential to adapt their provision to meet changing local needs. More often it may be a community hall or shared space in need of development.

The impact of COVID-19 highlighted the importance of community spaces to support resilience often acting as hubs for food distribution and local vaccination centres. More recently, with the impacts of the cost crisis, many community halls and are being utilised as warm spaces. 

The Scottish Rural Network (SRN) has funded the development and publication of a handbook for everyone running a village or community hall in Scotland or considering the development of a new facility -  the 'Village and Community Halls Handbook'.

Produced by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and Community Ownership Support Service (COSS) from Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS), with support from SRN, the publication will guide community organisations through what they need to know to manage and run a sustainable village hall or community space.

Topics covered include:

  • Taking on a community space
  • Governance
  • Facilities managaement
  • Digital village halls
  • Climate confident village halls
  • Funding
  • Case studies

The publication of the guidance was announced at the SCVO Gathering event, which took place at the EICC on 7 and 8 November 2023 with 3,000 representatives from the voluntary sector attending packed programme of workshops, seminars, activities and networking opportunities.

Rachel Boyd is the Content Design Manager with SCVO and worked on the development of the handbook. She said:

“Village halls are spaces where all life happens. They make a vital contribution to community life, and to the voluntary sector in Scotland, but running them can be complex. SCVO have enjoyed working on this project to create a central guide for anyone at any stage of running a village hall, providing information, links to helpful organisations, and sharing the stories from village halls themselves.”

The publication of the Handbook is very timely – the Scottish Rural and Island Parliament, held last week in Fort William, had Village halls and community spaces as its main theme and included workshops and study visits on the subject.

Community support for hubs as valued local assets has been evidenced by the number of applications received for Community Led Local Development (CLLD) funding, including the Rural Communities Ideas into Action Fund 2021/22, for the development and repair of hubs as exemplified by Old Pinwheery School Cosy Space developed by Pinwherry and Pinmore Community Development Trust (PPCDT) – read about their journey here

Visit and explore the Village and Community Halls Handbook.