RURAL communities across Herefordshire and Worcestershire have something to celebrate this Village Halls Week thanks to support from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

Castlemorton Parish Hall, near Malvern, has been awarded almost £80,000 to upgrade and refurbish its building. The good news was announced during Village Halls Week January 20-26, an annual celebration of rural community spaces and the people who dedicate their time to run them.

The hall is currently used by hundreds of local people every year for various activities such as a film club, Pilates, karate, committee meetings and dog training. Thanks to the new National Lottery funding, a second room will be built so that more activities can take place at once, as well as larger events like wedding receptions. The toilets will also be refurbished and the outside appearance of the hall will be improved.

Don Lupton, project manager at Castlemorton Parish Hall, said: “After three years of planning, it’s fantastic to start seeing our visions come to life and it’s all thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

"Our village hall is the social centre of the community – it’s a place where many people meet up – so we can’t wait to offer an improved space for many more activities like coffee mornings and toddler groups.

"We recently installed faster broadband so we hope to also see local businesses utilising the hall.”

Castlemorton isn’t the only village hall seeing the benefits of National Lottery funding this Village Halls Week. Thanks to £100,000, Community First are giving over 350 village halls across Herefordshire and Worcestershire the opportunity to help tackle social isolation and loneliness.