Community Centre Building Development Project
The aim of the Building Development Project is to redevelop the Chirnside Community Centre to deliver optimal facilities, financially sustainable, in a central location, with support and at a time that meets the needs of all the community – current and future.
With pressures on providing community centre facilities in the Scottish Borders, the Chirnside Community Centre has not been upgraded for current use, and the facilities are used by community groups “as best as” The centre is cold, has poor acoustics, lacks flexible space and had dated basic toilet and kitchen facilities. The building is currently both owned and managed by Scottish Borders Council (SBC). It is the aim of the Chirnside Development Group to return the centre to community ownership and management. SBC includes the Chirnside Community Centre in its strategy review for Community Centres in the Borders area. SBC plan to reduce their community centre ownership and services and are looking to sell off their building assets to community ownership. Negotiations having taken place over the last few years across Border towns and villages already. Chirnside has been identified as another of these building ownership transfer propositions. Any future decision on the facility of the Chirnside Community Centre may not be managed by SBC, and any users of the facility would have to find alternatives out with the Chirnside catchment area. If SBC stops running the centre and no-one takes on the asset, the building will be left to deteriorate and fall into disrepair. As a result, current users of the building would have to go elsewhere to find alternatives for the activities and facilities they used to attend at the centre.
Due to the poor heating, inadequate toilet and kitchen facilities, and general appearance of the centre, celebratory parties and functions are being held outside the village which, for families on limited income, involves an additional transport cost.
Art classes are being run in the church hall and some keep fit classes in the primary school as the centre is either unavailable or unsuitable due to the above plus the condition of the floor.
Funding will enable us to significantly improve the majority of the centre failings such as heating, acoustics, toilet and kitchen facilities as well as new flooring and decor.
By increasing the usable capacity (virtually doubling the capacity), we will be able to support functions / events ranging from small gatherings to celebratory parties, wedding receptions, cinema, theatre and music festivals, including office and training spaces for hire. All of these activities will generate new income for the Community Centre to help secure its future sustainability.
A ‘fit for purpose’ Community Centre will deliver enhanced quality of life by seeking out, encouraging and supporting new and current community projects such as training for new skills that will bring about beneficial changes for the community and individual community members. Enhancing existing skills by having increased educational opportunities such as evening classes will also benefit the community.
We will be able to greatly enhance the experience for current organisations and associations by providing and supporting a warm, welcoming, comfortable Community Centre with good acoustics.
The pressing need of the community in Chirnside, as evidenced by the Chirnside community surveys is for a comfortable venue as a focus for community activities. At present, initiatives arising from members of the community are not sustainable due to the inadequacies of the venue. A developed community centre will provide a suitable space where we can support the needs and wants arising from residents. Incorporating provision for young people in the planning also meets a need for social inclusion of this age group in Chirnside and the planned facilities will offer an alternative for older adults to meet socially rather than remain isolated at home. The ability to host more ambitious events will make the centre a focus for not only the village of Chirnside but also the wider catchment of the rural community able to travel here. We hope this will lead to people valuing the venue as an asset to the community identity and spirit.
In summary, the improved Community Centre will provide space where the community can come together to learn, socialise, celebrate and plan the ongoing development of the Chirnside Community.
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