VILLAGE halls across the Cotswolds are being given a chance to shine next week when they take centre stage during a national celebration, Village Halls Week.

The purpose of the week is to say thank you to all the volunteers who keep village halls and community buildings going, creating vital community spaces in rural areas.

Village Halls Week has been organised for the second year running by national charity Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), which is based in Cirencester and member organisations including the Gloucestershire Rural Community Council (GRCC).

Chedworth Village Hall is taking part in the event, and will host children’s author and illustrator Steve Antony on January 25, who will be reading to pupils from Chedworth Primary School and Chedworth Pre-School.

Steve will read from his Mr Panda series as well as his new book Amazing and will then run a character drawing workshop.

Many village halls are also planning their own events during the week, ranging from coffee mornings to heritage displays.

There are 10,000 village halls and other community buildings in England’s rural communities, with 330 found in Gloucestershire.

Village halls in the Cotswolds are often the beating heart of a community, hosting everything from tea dances, flower shows and pantomimes to film nights, charity fundraisers and birthday parties.

Mike Stuart from South Cerney explained the value of the village hall to his village. "In our community, the Village Hall has been of great importance and value ever since it was donated to the people of the village back in the mid 1920s.

"Since then, it has been the venue for a multitude of events put on not only by local groups and organisations but also by individuals using it for birthday parties, wedding receptions, wakes and so on. Recently we had a 70th birthday party booking from someone who lives in North Wales and guests came from all over the UK to attend!"

He added: "However, the main value to the community is the fact that the hall is there and can be used for almost everything the people need with some exceptions."

GRCC provides a community buildings service offering support and advice for trustees managing community buildings, led by CEO Janice Banks. She said: “Village halls have always the focal point of their communities. They bring people together by supporting activities for the young, old and all manner of interests in between.”

For a full list of events and support available, visit