It’s a story that can be found throughout rural Scotland, places where communities can get together for local events are now fewer and fewer and often in buildings which are nearing their sell by date, and quite often built by the Victorians.
But for one community there is hope of a modern 21st century community centre thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of people.
The dream of a brand new community centre for two Carrick villages is well on its way to reality this week as South Ayrshire provost Helen Moonie planted a tree to mark a milestone on the way.
On Saturday the 2 Pins Community Company received a cheque from Carrick Futures for £50,000 and a similiar amount from Handyard Hill windfarm as well as £30,000 from the Lendal Trust.
South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie planted a tree on the site of the proposed new community centre and unveiled a new sign telling residents what is going on.
On Saturday there was also a marquee with teas and coffees with residents learning about the proposed venture.
The group have also planned a three-day event to be held in May.
Peter Walker said: “The story began in 2006 when Pinwherry and Pinmore Community Council obtained funding from Hadyard Hill Community Benefit Fund to employ Poole Dick Associates to carry out an audit of the community. Top of the community’s wish list was a new community centre to replace the existing Pinwherry Village Hall, which can no longer meet the needs of the community.
“In 2007 the Pinwherry and Pinmore Community Development Association (PPCDA) was formed by local residents, members of Pinwherry & Pinmore Community Council , Pinwherry Community Association and other local voluntary groups in the area to take forward projects suggested by residents.
“Over the next few years further research was carried out with public consultation meetings and meetings with interested parties e.g. funders, South Ayrshire Council, architects and planners. Different sites were considered and as Pinwherry Primary School was closing discussions were held to consider its future use and it was agreed that it wouldn’t accommodate the desired community facility.
“In 2012 members of the PPCDA registered the 2 Pins Community Company as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status to take forward the vision of the new centre. The 2 Pins Company currently has 8 directors and 53 members, all of whom are local residents.
“With funding from Carrick Futures and Hadyard Hill Community Benefit Funds and the Lendal Environmental Trust, the 2 Pins Company purchased land in the centre of Pinwherry on which to build the new community facility. Planning permission has been granted for the new centre and applications are now being made for the development and construction. Pinwherry Community Association and 2 Pins Company members have joined forces to fundraise for the project and several very successful events have been held; including a Cream Tea on Pinmore Green, Christmas Craft Fair, a Race Night, Prize Raffle and Ayrshire Fiddle Concert. Many other events are planned for 2014.”
2 Pins Company members and other local residents have worked with Austin Smith-Lord Architects and other professional advisers to produce plans for the 2 Pins Centre. The 2 Pins Company has tried to take a holistic view of the community’s needs, the challenges they face and the opportunities available to address them with the proposed 2 Pins Centre now and for future generations. The 2 Pins Centre will have disabled access to all areas and will include; an entrance foyer displaying local history, heritage and arts and crafts; a main hall to accommodate five-a-side football, three badminton courts, entertainment events and the ability to split into two smaller areas; changing facilities, disabled toilet and baby changing facilities, storage and first aid rooms; two committee meeting rooms, a large arts and crafts room and office space for use by local community organisations; community cafe, kitchen and small shop; ample car parking, children’s play area and electric car charging point.
Peter added: “The project has the full support of our three elected South Ayrshire Councillors and South Ayrshire Council Economic Development department. This project will bring economic benefits through employment opportunities and a space to welcome visitors and promote local businesses. It will give residents opportunities towards a better quality of life and wellbeing, providing a space to meet, share information and support, and build a stronger community.
South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie said: “I was delighted to plant a tree to celebrate 2 Pins Community Company project. This tree will be at the heart of the community where it can grow and blossom, just like the proposed new community centre, both local landmarks and symbolic of this flourishing community and inspiring community spirit.”