14 June 1996

Focusing on village

EVEN in these high-tech days when the majority of villagers leave for the town each morning, the village green still plays a significant part in village life, so its fitting that a "village green" is the centre piece of Village Focus, part of the People in the Countryside area of the Royal Show (July 1-4).

Maypole and Morris dancers, jugglers and a Punch & Judy show will be among the entertainments on the village green while in the surrounding area you may enjoy a pint at The Black Bull or a cuppa in the tea rooms. You can see how cider is made and let your children have fun in the play area.

Perhaps your own village doesnt have a green? If so the Countryside Commission may be able to help you. It has £10m of lottery money to spend on the development of 250 new village greens by the year 2000. Already 23 pilot projects are under way. If your village has a suitable site for a green then come along to the Village Focus area to discuss the possibilities with the commissions representatives.

Village Focus also offers you the chance to find out more about ways in which villagers can set up community shops and transport schemes, develop childcare and playgroup initiatives and run activities for young people and senior citizens. You can find out about grants for environmental and employment initiatives here and discover how to make the most of your village hall.

Organisations such as Action with Communities in Rural England, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, and the Rural Development Commission will be among those on hand.

People who live or work in the countryside need the same services and support that townspeople receive. Village Focus can help you get them.