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Rural communities in Northumberland benefit from £10,000 grant

Ninety-five community buildings and village halls across Northumberland have benefitted from expert advice and guidance from Community Action Northumberland (CAN), helping them to develop their services and become more resilient. 

A £10,000 grant for core costs from the Guy Readman Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, allowed CAN to support internal improvement in charities and volunteering-based organisations situated in rural areas.  

Ross Wilson, Senior Philanthropy Advisor, said: 

“Community buildings are vital to strong rural communities; they help provide a strong sense of inclusion for people who might otherwise find themselves isolated. We also know from the National Village Halls survey which was conducted just before lockdown that 50,000 individuals earned a living in connection to these community buildings.  

“This grant for core costs has allowed CAN to broaden their work and has helped support many buildings across Northumberland that are often the lifeblood of their local communities.” 

CAN is one of 38 community support charities across England that form the ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) network. They work with communities to ensure that they benefit from national policies and have their voice heard on the matters that they feel affect them the most.  

They provide a range of development services designed to help, improve and support people in the communities and the buildings they use. CAN has given advice to the benefit of 95 community buildings/village halls, delivered training to 5 halls, supported 13 halls with capital improvement projects, and carried out 3 hallmark assessments. 

Andy Dean, Chief Executive of Community Action Northumberland, said: 

“The support provided by grants of this nature is deeply valued and we are extremely grateful. Capacity building in our local organisations is critical to enable them to survive and thrive. This core grant has directly enabled us to support critical and highly valued local community organisations for the benefit of Northumberland’s rural communities.”   

The grant allowed feasibility work to be completed at 40 community buildings looking at the installation of solar power, which significantly exceeds CAN’s initial aim of providing help for an additional 4 buildings. This would mean buildings can benefit from cheaper power whilst their carbon footprints are also being reduced. 

This grant has also allowed CAN to achieve their aim of helping at least two community venues to improve their digital offer to local residents. So far, CAN has provided several village halls with the benefits of digital adoption, helping them introduce broadband, which has unlocked the benefits of internet access for many.