PRESS RELEASE 4/2/2015: Training for North Yorkshire village halls to become community hubs

AN EVENT in February aimed at rural community buildings in North Yorkshire will train volunteers to increase their audiences and improve their accessibility, propelling them to the centre of community life.

Volunteers, committees and community leaders of all kinds are encouraged to come along to the event and see firsthand the fantastic improvements which have been made in Kirkby Fleetham, share ideas and experience with others, and learn more about making their environment more welcoming and accessible to all.

‘Creating Community Friendly Buildings’ runs on Saturday 21 February from 10am to 2pm at Kirkby Fleetham Village Hall, and is open to venues and volunteers from Scarborough, Harrogate, Ryedale, Richmondshire, Whitby and northern Hambleton.

It is part of a project run by Rural Action Yorkshire (RAY) aimed at encouraging rural buildings to develop new activities and reach more vulnerable members of society who may be at risk of loneliness and isolation. The project is funded by Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group and by North Yorkshire County Council’s Innovation Fund.

James Russell, who is organising the event on behalf of RAY, says, “Community buildings, especially in rural areas, are a great place to address issues such as isolation, loneliness and poverty. They are a first point of call for weekly social interaction to many living in rural areas across North Yorkshire.

“However, many community buildings are not used to their full potential. We want to help those who manage community buildings to make full use of their asset by organising their own activities and projects, not just hiring out the building to other users.”

The event on 21 February will include workshops on topics such as understanding how community buildings can become more accessible to those with dementia, the sorts of events that community buildings can organise themselves, and potential sources of funding.

RAY, which works closely with village halls and parish councils on a daily basis, is keen to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of volunteers across Yorkshire who already achieve awe-inspiring feats every day.

James says, “We are bowled over every day by the commitment of people living in rural areas to their village halls and local activities. If we can help in any way to support halls, and encourage them to support each other, we can help make rural communities even better places to live.”

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Editor’s Notes

Photos attached.

Media contact for all enquiries: Candice Dowson, Marketing & PR Officer, Rural Action Yorkshire tel. 0845 313 0270.

We would be interested in a staff photographer attending the event.

Rural Action Yorkshire

Based at Askham Bryan, near York, RAY is one of 38 Rural Community Councils in England.  It isan independent, charitable, and voluntary organisation working across rural areas of North, South and West Yorkshire, to help communities improve the quality of life for all people living and working in rural Yorkshire. Key work includes:

* Providing advice and grant support for sustainable multi-use community buildings, which can act as a focal point for village services

* Helping local communities carry out community led plans, which identify the strengths and weaknesses of village life and plan how the local community sees future development taking place

RAY and the other 37 rural community councils across England form the ACRE Network (Action with Communities in Rural England).

Find Rural Action Yorkshire online at www.ruralyorkshire.org.ukand Twitter @RuralYorkshire