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The impact of the Virtual Village Hall on health and wellbeing

The Virtual Village Hall is a programme of online activities designed to enjoy at home. Sessions are led by expert tutors, Royal Voluntary Service volunteers and some well-known faces, and require very little space or equipment. There are a wide range of sessions to take part in, like creative arts and crafts, music and singing, cooking and baking and dance and exercise. Everyone is welcome and all activities are free to take part in, thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The Virtual Village Hall was launched in April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a way of helping people stay mentally and physically active at home and connect with people who share their interests.

After a year of delivery, we asked participants to complete a survey to help us understand the difference that the Virtual Village Hall made to their health and wellbeing. This is what they told us:

  • 64% take part daily or weekly
  • 44% have a long term health condition
  • 62% of them said taking part helped them to better manage their health conditions
  • 74% joined to keep active during lockdown
  • 75% plan to take part just as often, even as restrictions ease
  • 84% saw a positive impact on their physical health
  • 97% saw a positive impact on emotional wellbeing
  • 74% said taking part helped them to feel less lonely
  • 40,000 followers
  • At least 5 new classes weekly
  • Over 400 classes in the library, free to view at any time

Virtual Village Hall evaluation

A survey was conducted to better understand the health and wellbeing impacts of those participating in the Virtual Village Hall during the pandemic. The survey was promoted on the Virtual Village Hall and Facebook page. In total 400 surveys were completed between the 11 to 31 May 2021.

The survey asked questions on frequency of use, types of activities people participated in, perceived impact on their physical health and emotional wellbeing, improvements to be made, and future use.

Amongst those surveyed:

  • 64% use the Virtual Village Hall frequently – weekly/daily
  • 73% participated in exercise and dance classes – these were the most popular activities
  • 74% stated they decided to join the VVH because they wanted to ‘keep active during the various local/national lockdowns’
  • 84% agreed that Virtual Village Hall has a positive impact on their physical health; for those individuals who were shielding this rose to 88%
  • 62% of those with long-term health conditions (n=156) agreed that it helped them to better manage their health
  • 97% agreed that Virtual Village Hall had a positive impact on mood and emotional wellbeing
  • 3 in 4 participants stated that Virtual Village Hall helped them to feel less lonely

The survey findings demonstrate the vital role Virtual Village Hall has played in keeping people active and
socially connected during the pandemic.

Participants also see significant value in Virtual Village Hall beyond the pandemic – as 75% stated that ‘nothing will change’ in their use of Virtual Village Hall as restrictions ease and community classes open.