‘Domesday Book’ set up to capture the work of village halls in their centenary year

by Phillip Vincent, Action with Communites in Rural England

Village halls in England are being encouraged to sign the online record to mark 100 years of rural community action.

The online record has been set up by national charity, Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) as part of a week-long celebration of the contribution community and village halls make to rural communities which begins Monday 25 January.

David Emerson CBE, the charity’s Chair said, “We’re delighted to announce details of our Village Halls Domesday Book published today. It is a unique opportunity for village halls up and down the country to help us create a public record of the good things they have been doing, and the difference they make to local people as we celebrate a centenary of rural community action.

We very much hope the Domesday Book will serve as a reminder of how valuable these buildings are at a time when many have been forced to close their doors due to the national lockdown.”

It is a unique opportunity for village halls up and down the country to help us create a public record of the good things they have been doing, and the difference they make to local people as we celebrate a centenary of rural community action

There are over 10,000 village and community halls to be found across England. Many were established in the 1920s when there was a national drive to improve social and educational provision in rural areas.

Today, village halls support a diverse range of community activities from exercise classes to coffee mornings and are routinely hired out for private parties and weddings. Some host community shops and post offices.

The Domesday Book is prefaced by a forward from Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs who is a long-time supporter of village halls.

ACRE intends to use the record to help make the case for sustained funding and support for village halls as the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Celebrating 100 Years Together: Village Halls Week 2021

Monday 25 January – Friday 29 January 2021

This year the Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) Network will be Celebrating 100 Years Together and Village Halls Week 2021 will take place from Monday 25th January through to Friday 29th January 2021. 

ACRE has planned sessions for each day during the week which management committee members can book to join, we are sharing the information below. 

These sessions look really interesting and Kate our Community Buildings Adviser, hopes to see you at some of them, you can register by going to the ACRE website which is https://acre.org.uk/our-work/village-halls-week

CCB is not planning to do any specific training sessions for trustees during village halls week but we are running a Wellbeing in 2021 webinar which we will hope will be of benefit to EVERYONE: For further information please click here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/131463126751

If any of your halls would like to organise a virtual meet up be it a chat, quiz or a game of bingo for your community please let Kate or Gemma know and CCB will advertise it for you – admin@ccberks.org.uk

Acres National Village Hall Programme 25 – 29 January 2021

Listen to opening speeches by Lord Gardiner, ACRE’s Executive Director Richard Quallington and our in-house expert Deborah Clarke celebrating a century of village halls


Learn about the different activities and events hosted by village halls and how they combat loneliness and support the local economy. This will include a spotlight on rural touring activities as promoted by NRTF


Join an online event sponsored by Norris & Fisher to find out how your village hall can recover from Covid-19. Register your place


Be a part of a conversation about what the future holds for village halls and join an online event sponsored by Utility Aid to find out how your village halls can contribute to a zero-carbon future. Register your place


Listen to a podcast by Allied Westminster discussing the history of village halls. Register your interest. And don’t forget to sign our Doomsday Book to send a message to MPs!

Workshops for West Berkshire Residents to help businesses prosper!

The Real Business Club will be delivering these interactive online workshops to help businesses be more productive and grow. The workshops will start in January 2021. These workshops are available and FREE to everyone, absolutely no matter what kind of business you may own or run.  Others who have attended consistently give great feedback. They love the benefits of attending, the clear explanations, practicality and relevance, as well as the professional delivery from real business owners. 

  • Marketing and Sales for Business Owners 
  • 5 practical & interactive workshops delivered online, free of charge
  • Starts on 21 January 2021
  • Each runs from 7.30pm until 9pm on Thursdays

Further details of the dates can be found on our website – https://www.therealbusinessclub.co.uk/business-training-workshops


Marketing and Sales: “Thought provoking – great ways to unlock word of mouth!”, “Focused my thoughts on our brand and re-invigorating it” and “I’m not a sales/ marketing person but it’s greatly improved my knowledge of the topics”.

New Training Opportunity; Living Well in 2021 Webinar

At CCB we recently completed an online survey asking individuals in communities in Berkshire what was important to them and their local community. Thank you to the 200 people that completed this survey, the results revealed that number 1 of the top 5 list of priorites was general Health & Wellbeing (the current pandemic was listed as an alternative priority). This led us to think about how we can help individuals and community minded people that may wish to improve their health and wellbeing as well as support their neighbours, family, friends and wider community.

To begin with we thought we would set up a training session that will use the ‘5 Ways of Wellbeing’ to focus on the small changes we can make in our daily lives to feel better both physically and mentally. We are working with some other great West Berkshire charities to bring people this training opportunity, as well as individuals that will talk about their own personal experiences and hopefully act as inspiration to others.

Friday 29th January (originally 15th Jan), 10.30am. For further details and to book your place please click here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/131463126751

Stop Loan Sharks; Winter Newsletter now out and future training opportunities

Please click here to read the latest from Stop Loan Sharks by Illegal Money Lending Team. They also have further training opportunities in 2021 for practitioners that work with ‘at risk’ individuals and families. Anyone can be at risk of a loan shark and this issue may get worse as more of us experience financial hardship due to the effect of lockdown and tha pandemic.

Session 1: Could you spot a loan shark?

The purpose of loan shark training is to provide information and knowledge about the issue, how it relates to your work and how we can help those who have borrowed from illegal lenders. The length of the session is approximately one and a half hours.

It will include key things to look out for as a sign that a friend, client or colleague may be involved with a loan shark. The session will show the impact that illegal lenders have on victims and communities and how we can work together to stop people falling into the clutches of criminals.

9th Feb 1030 -1200 

23rd Feb 1030 -1200

Session 2: Changing Lives – a loan shark victim’s journey and the part you play:

A continuing learning opportunity for those who have already received Stop Loan Sharks training.


This is an additional learning tool for those that already know the basic facts about loan sharks. Learn about the implications and facts around reporting or not reporting for your business and staff; Learn about victim safety, Data Protection issues and how to help victims open up about their situation.

11th Feb 1030 – 1200 

2nd March: 1030-1200

Stand-alone session: Do you understand credit unions?

Leading the Seminar will be England Illegal Money Lending Team’s specialist Credit Union Liaise Officer, Sean Lynch. Before joining the Stop Loan Sharks team Sean worked at Citysave Credit Union, based in Birmingham which had roughly 7,500 members and savings deposits of over £7 Million.

For the last 3 years of his time there, he managed the Credit Union and looked after day to day operations, lending, marketing and website content as well as contributing to the governance as well as all policies approved by the board.

Lin Fisher will also be contributing with her experience of working with local Credit Unions.

2nd Feb – 1030 -1200 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/do-you-understand-credit-unions-tickets-130783060655

25th Feb – 1030 -1200 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/do-you-understand-credit-unions-tickets-132264184737