Small cottages beside a small stream with a water mill. It's a lovely sunny day and the village looks quaint.

The Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund plays a crucial role in helping renovate, refurbish and construct buildings such as village halls, church halls and community centres.

The £700,000 Defra fund, managed by ACRE, encourages communities to raise funds, knowing a loan could be available to help them meet their target and win funding from other sources.

The average loan taken out by hall committees is around £15,000 – but larger loans are considered. Around 40 loans are live at any one time and ACRE makes around 10 to 14 new loans every year. The interest charged on the loan is returned to the Government, but capital is put back into the fund to support other community buildings.

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