RURAL communities across North Yorkshire are being encouraged to apply for government grants to transform existing halls and buildings or build new ones.

Over £700,000 is on offer nationally through the Defra loan fund, which gives money to improve rural buildings that are used by the community.

The idea is that towns and villages raise money themselves but apply for loans which can help bring cash from other sources.

Rural Action Yorkshire helps run the scheme in North Yorkshire.

Tess McMahon, community buildings officer, said, “The fund is a real boon for communities because it allows work to be done immediately, bringing instant benefits. The loan process is simple and we can use our in-depth knowledge of community buildings to help guide and support applicants.

“Village halls are the heart of rural communities but the majority of the 10,000 across England were built before 1970 and some are in need of a facelift or major renovation. We know how hard it is for communities to raise funds for projects and the availability of a flexible loan can make all the difference.”

A spokesperson for Defra added: “The Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund plays an important role in supporting vital community buildings that sit at the heart of rural life. We would encourage communities to use the fund not only for the maintenance and improvement of current community buildings but also to help communities bring buildings into community use and ownership where there is a local need.”

Contact Tess McMahon by calling 0845-313-0270 or email