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Watching the pennies 'will punish halls'.

VILLAGE halls run prudently by volunteers will suffer under proposed funding changes, it has been claimed.

Durham County Council officers have decreed that to qualify for a share of a PS260,000 Community Building Grant Scheme, community centres must not hold reserves totalling more than 18 months of running costs.

But Margaret Tyerman, treasurer of Edmundbyers Village Hall near Consett, said it is only because of the goodwill of volunteers that the hall finds itself in a reasonably healthy position.

"At home I try to run my household prudently so there is money available for any emergencies, and the village hall is run on the same principle," she said.

Independent Durham county councillor John Shuttleworth, treasurer of Rookhope Village Hall in Weardale, said the funding change would penalise committees which had acted responsibly. Gordon Elliott for the council said a working group of community building representatives had given the authority a clear message that it should not be funding groups with a "reasonable amount of cash sitting in an account". Groups with money put aside for a specific repair or project would still receive assistance, he added.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 4, 2013
Words:187
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