95 village and community halls serve the rural communities of the Scottish Borders and their role is ever more important. For many years, they have provided a venue for activities run by other small local groups, and a focus for social get–togethers, which all keep our people fitter and healthier and better connected, and our communities alive and more resilient.
Local ownership of community assets is not a new idea, and has worked well over many years; most of the village halls in the Scottish Borders are owned by their community. Managed by volunteers, rural village and community halls all provide a focal point for activities in their community at a time when other services such as schools, shops and even some churches have closed down. Well known as venues for toddler groups, the Rural, and sport and fitness groups, village hall activities have changed with the times and now include lunch clubs, library cafes (to coincide with the library bus visit) and film clubs, helping to combat social isolation. Along with arts and music events, dances, dinners and quiz nights, these activities bring people together in our often widespread communities.
Now, working with the local authority, many have been identified as Emergency Centres for use during extended power cuts or bad weather, linked to their local Resilient Community Group. Salt bins, sandbags and sheds with snow shovels have joined the long list of equipment stored at each hall! Where there is no local school, they are also the venue for Community Council meetings and Polling Stations. Local MPs and MSPs use them for their Surgery Tours, to meet constituents.
As with any property, village halls require constant maintenance. As local needs change, Halls have undergone a range of improvements: adaptations to make them accessible for all, extensions to increase storage or activity space, better kitchens and toilets, new equipment; insulation to keep costs down, reduce CO2 emissions and provide a warm and welcoming space for community activities.
Federations of Village and Community Halls were formed in the mid-1970s, bringing the Halls together on a local basis, and they continue today. The Berwickshire, Central Borders, Peeblesshire and Roxburgh Federations of Village and Community Halls enable networking by the 95 rural Halls in membership, and are supported by BAVS and The Bridge. We assist them to administer their grant schemes and help organise regular meetings for their members to share and learn from each other, bringing in speakers on topics relevant to the Halls and their communities and helping them stay up to date with legislation governing these highly valued community assets. The four Federations work together to ensure that grant funding devolved to them by Scottish Borders Council is managed consistently to mutually agreed criteria.
Village Halls Handbook
Here is the latest issue of the Village Halls Handbook:
- Village Halls Handbook (682 KB)
Village and Community Hall Federations
Click on the links below to access the pages for each individual Federation of Village and Community Halls: