Community Spaces and Village Halls

Community spaces and village halls are often the unsung heroes of our rural and island communities. They serve as essential community spaces that adapt to meet local needs.  Village halls cater for community meetings, social gatherings, sports and fitness, lifelong learning, cultural and recreational activities, health clinics, and they are often a safe space in times of emergency.  

Village halls face challenges such as increased costs, buildings in need of upgrading and changing population dynamics. Despite their crucial role, support for these community spaces often fall short. These spaces are driven by their dedication and mission, fostering collaboration toward community improvement.

Scottish Rural Action are part of a wider partnership group between Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Development Trust Association Scotland, Third Sector Interface, Rural Housing Scotland, Social Enterprise Scotland, Community Enterprise Scotland and Scottish Rural Network.  We’re working together to increase the conversation around village halls and look at what we can do to strengthen support for them.

As part of this group SCVO and DTAS have worked together to produce the Village Halls handbook, an online guide which covers everything from governance and facilities management to net zero and digital, as well as everything in between.  The resource was recently launched at SCVO’s The Gathering and can be found here

The theme of the Scottish and Rural Islands Parliament this year was Village Halls and Community Spaces, and one of the opening workshops brought together over 60 delegates to discuss these essential venues.  This workshop was held in the Main Hall of the Nevis Centre, an apt venue as the Nevis Centre is a community run space itself, and just one of over 20 village halls and community spaces which would be used over the duration of the Scottish Rural and Islands Parliament.

Delegates shared what they thought was great about Village Halls:

  • versatility and inclusivity
  • affordability and accessibility
  • community connection and pride

It also looked at what more is needed to support these essential spaces:

  • community collaboration and engagement
  • transparency, governance and support
  • innovation, sustainability and networking

The outputs from this workshop will help inform Scottish Government policymaking and also help shape the Rural Delivery Plan.

Watch this space for what comes next!