Grant will make big difference to new Maybole centre

AN AWARD of £76,662 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Community Spaces programme means the Carrick Centre will now be able to install audio visual equipment to allow the cafe area to be used as an extension of the auditorium when audiences are too large to be accommodated.

This will apply also to funerals or occasions when the church congregation is swelled by visi- tors for special services. People with hearing difficulties will be able to access the loop and services will be able to be recorded on an up-to-date format.

It will also allow conferences and concerts to be provided with full audio visual facilities.

The Youth Centre will be fitted out with chairs and tables as well as digital equipment which means that organisations that have expressed an interest in the centre will be able to use the premises.

The cafe will be furnished with appropriate tables and chairs so that volunteers will no longer have to move furniture on an almost daily basis. It is anticipated that the cafe will soon open on a daily basis.

Many groups are already using the main carpeted room outwith the auditorium and it will also be furnished as a day care centre. The Heart and Stroke Group already uses this space, as does the breastfeeding group.

The whole venture goes back to the decision by the Church of Scotland that Maybole Parish Church should be encouraged to build a community church. Its instruction was that the building had to be used seven days a week – not two hours on a Sunday.

Every part of the building was to be available for community use at the discretion of the management. In order to facilitate this community use, the Carrick Centre was established both as a charity and a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee which is responsible for running the centre and endeavouring to ensure it is commercially successful.

The board of this company is made up of church and non-church members and will continue to be advised by a management committee which has seen the project from its inception to the wonderfully designed building in Culzean Road next to the railway station.

The building was leased by the trustees of the Church to the Carrick Centre for 25 years at a peppercorn rent. The board will keep the building in a good state of repair and insured.

To ensure that Maybole Parish Church was not disadvantaged by this arrangement, a management contract was drawn up and agreed by church and board. Part of this agreement was to guarantee the church sole use of the auditorium and ancillary accommodation on Sunday mornings and church groups, such as the guild, priority bookings for their meetings.

The board will also make the auditorium/sanctuary available for funerals and weddings.

This new venture is probably unique in Scotland.

The lottery grant also provides for staffing costs and will ensure the continued employment of the centre’s hard-working office team for the foreseeable future.

Each room in the building has been allocated a local name which will make it easier to identify. These are auditorium (Crossraguel), community care space (Kincraig), youth wing (Culzean/Cassillis), games hall (Cargill), meeting rooms (Mochrum and Kildoon), and the soft play area (Bruce’s Castle)

Jim Stevens, treasurer of the Carrick Centre, said: “I can hardly overstate the difference this grant will make to our ability to optimise the use of the building for the benefit of the whole community.

“I am particularly happy that a top-of-the-range audio visual service can be installed as we have partially deaf people who require a loop system to allow them to participate in events.”

Bill Miller, chairman of the board of directors, added: “I am delighted at the generosity of the lottery grant and that they have recognised the value of the centre to the whole community.

“Many groups have expressed an interest in using the spaces available and with this money we will be able to cater for almost all the needs that have been identified.”

The group is also looking for old pictures of the station area, hopefully showing the coal lye or the Co-op shed. This is to complete an audio-visual presentation. Anyone who can help, should contact staff at the Carrick Centre.