Isle Futures, the community – led registered charity based in the Isle of Whithorn, Dumfries and Galloway has been successful in its ‘Investing in Communities’ funding application to the Big Lottery to develop the community-owned St Ninian’s Hall. It is one of 15 projects across Scotland receiving a total of over £8 million from the Big Lottery Fund.
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Isle Futures – Growing Our Future
A short film on the history of the Isle’s regeneration project.
The Isle of Whithorn will receive one of the largest awards – £940,222. Announcing the award today (Wednesday 10th April) the Big Lottery Fund’s Chair, Maureen McGinn said: “The Investing in Communities programme helps bring real improvements to communities and people most in need. The Isle of Whithorn and the area around is a beautiful part of Scotland with great tourist potential, so upgrading local facilities will enhance visitor experiences. Thanks to today’s funding, the project will make significant steps in securing the local economic future of the community. It’s an excellent example of an initiative which makes a positive difference to people’s lives.”
The project will involve the construction of an annex to the hall which will double the size, providing a café/tearoom facility, retail outlet, exhibition area, and new public toilets. These facilities, with all ability access, will complement the existing hall which currently does not meet the requirements for its wide range of users. Through this development, Isle Futures will create a number of full time jobs and seasonal part time jobs in the busier periods.
The Isle of Whithorn was the first community in the region to take control of their village hall from Dumfries and Galloway Council. Since undertaking responsibility of managing the hall, some five years ago, major improvements to the building have taken place. In addition to refurbishment and decoration, much of which has been carried out by volunteers within the community , a new heating system, theatre lighting and digital cinema equipment have been installed.
“I know the the whole community will be absolutely delighted with the news of this Award,” said the Chair of Isle Futures, Ian Duncanson. “The Trustees and many others have worked tirelessly for many years now, and this decision by the Big Lottery to award Capital Funding for the new build, and Revenue Funding over the next 5 years for the St Ninian’s Hall development project is tremendous. It recognises that the development will benefit the whole community, particularly older and younger people who are at risk of social isolation. The development of the new facilities will create much-needed employment opportunities and will provide services for visitors, supporting the tourist industry – one of the most important businesses in the local area and wider region. A facility to be proud of and one which reflects the community’s needs and aspirations”
St Ninian’s Hall is situated in a key location, facing onto the village green, foreshore and looking over the picturesque harbour and out to the Isle of Man. The hall is ideally situated to fulfil a range of functions including supporting local community activities, hosting events, providing an information centre for visitor attractions, operating as an emergency centre and as a communications services hub.
Planning for St Ninian’s Hall annex has been approved by Dumfries and Galloway Council and construction is due to commence this summer with the opening scheduled in Spring 2014.