RURAL communities across Yorkshire are being encouraged to apply to a £700,000 Defra loan fund to improve community buildings or build new ones.

The Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund helps community groups renovate and refurbish buildings such as village halls, church halls and community centres.

It encourages communities to raise funds, knowing a loan could be available to help them meet their target and win funding from other sources. Last year, Cold Kirby Village Hall in Ryedale successfully applied for funding to make their hall warmer with an electricity upgrade and by installing double glazing. A short-term Rural Community Building Loan helped them manage cash flow in order to get the work started.

For more information, phone 0845 313 0270 or email