RURAL community buildings across the county will be considering how they can save energy and work with groups in their community to contribute to Net Zero this week as part of a national campaign led by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE).

Run almost entirely by volunteers, village halls are a cornerstone of rural community life in Devon, providing what are often the only spaces where people can meet and socialise locally. They also sustain many livelihoods connected with use of the venue.

But over the past couple of years many halls have struggled to meet increasing energy bills – indeed many buildings are old, off the gas grid and difficult to heat.

Village Halls Week 2024, which begins today, March 18 and runs until March 24, is a call to action with management committees being encouraged to consider how they can "go green!" – to safeguard their own future, and that of the wider environment.

Today, Monday, a livestream has launched the publication of a new design guide produced by Stagg Architects which offers practical advice on retrofitting halls to reduce energy consumption and dependency on fossil fuels.

It features the efforts of six pioneering halls who have done just that – improving insulation, replacing heating systems and even generating their own electricity.

It is hoped that with the recent £5m uplift in grant funding announced by the Chancellor in the Spring Budget, it will help many more communities undertake such works.

Village Halls Week

The campaign is also encouraging village halls to work with and provide a space for environmentally minded groups and initiatives – from repair clubs, conservation volunteers to refill stations.

Across England, more than 250 village halls are expected to host open days and events to mark their involvement in the campaign, including many in Devon, including those on this map.

Many will be using this as an opportunity to engage local residents in their work and their plans for "going green". 

Why not find out what your local hall is up to this week?

What is Devon Communities Together doing to celebrate Village Halls Week?

Devon Communities Together (DCT) is an independent charity that helps to enable and empower communities across Devon to tackle insecurities and inequalities that can arise from living in a rural county.

As the Rural Community Council of Devon (and member of ACRE, the organisers of Village Halls Week), DCT has a rich history of supporting village halls and community buildings across Devon during the past 60 years.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 19, from 1.0.30am to 12.30pm, Stokeinteignhead Village Hall Pop up Community Café and hub will take place with Devon Communities Together visiting the hub to meet the community as part of Village Halls Week. On Wednesday, March 20, from 10am to 3pm - Go Green in Membury! will take place.

Village Halls in East Devon are invited to learn about Sustainable Energy use in Village Halls, meet the East Devon Support Service Team, network with the East Devon Village Hall cluster, and more!