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Village halls struggling to survive

PUBLISHED: 09:17 02 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:10 03 July 2010

NORFOLK'S village halls are struggling due to rules and regulations and lack of cash, the chairman of the county's village hall association says.

The Norfolk Association of Village Halls is 25 years old this year and due to hold its annual conference on March 14.

NORFOLK'S village halls are struggling due to rules and regulations and lack of cash, the chairman of the county's village hall association says.

The Norfolk Association of Village Halls is 25 years old this year and due to hold its annual conference on March 14.

While there have not been any losses of village halls recently, Bill Barker, chairman of the group and a founding member, said times were tough.

“A lot, I fear, are struggling somewhat,” he said.

“Finance is the main problem and it is affecting everyone. But that is nothing new. Individual halls find it difficult to raise money locally.

“There are very few grants and those there are are difficult to apply for. The rules and regulations coming in are a bit of a worry as well.”

The disability discrimination act meant many halls had to spend reserves on upgrading access and toilet facilities.

Meeting health and safety regulations was now a big worry, he said.

And while there are stalwarts who have been running the halls for years, it is important new blood is brought in - another job proving difficult.

He said the days of building a hall with a couple of five-gallon drums with a board across and volunteer labour were gone.

The annual conference of the NAVH is at the Copeman Centre in Briston on Saturday, March 14.

It starts at 10am and will be followed by the annual general meeting after lunch.

Contact 01953 860369 for more information.

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