COMMUNITY groups across Dorset are being urged to apply for a slice of a £700,000 Defra loan fund to improve rural community buildings.

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

The average loan taken out by village hall committees is around £15,000, but larger loans are considered.

The fund is managed by Action with Communities in Rural England (Acre) on behalf of Defra.

Deborah Clarke of Dorset Community Action, a member of the Acre Network, said: “We’re keen to hear from groups who want to construct a new building or buy an existing building for community use through the Community Right to Bid powers.”

For further information about the funds call Dorset Community Action on 01305 250921 or email