Plans to by Ailsa Horizons to turn Girvan’s Davidson Hospital into an enterprise centre have received a massive boost from the Heritage Enterprise Fund.
Ailsa Horizons were successful in receiving a grant of £1.387m from the fund meaning over three quarters of the funding is now in place for the £1.8m project.
Horizons plan to transform the old hospital, which was closed in 2010 into an enterprise centre for businesses to use as office and studio space with their plans also incorporating childcare facilities into the building.
Stuart Lindsay, CEO of Ailsa Horizons said: “We’re obviously really pleased with the outcome and it’s really good news that the Heritage Enterprise fund saw fit to give us £1.387m.
“It means over three quarters of the funding is now in place for the project and although we still need to find roughly £350,000 of match funding, this award gives a lot of confidence to other funders so we’re confident we can have all the funding in place by the end of the year.
“We are currently applying to a whole host of charitable trusts for funding and we’ve had £74,440 of grants approved.
“I had also discussions with Leader this week and the early signs suggest that it is possible they would give us funding.”
The loss of the Davidson Hospital has been sorely felt in the town but Horizons are confident this will be a welcome boost to the local economy particular in terms of jobs.
Stuart Lindsay added: “The low estimate amount of jobs we are predicting in the first five years is 50, but we are hopeful that up to 70 jobs will be created as a result of the centre.
“There will also be 14 temporary construction jobs created.
“As it stands we are working on the designs before putting contracts out to tender.
“The main contractors should be on site in June 2016 with a view to the centre opening in the middle of 2017.”
Stuart also believes the centre will be better served being in public hands rather than for private profit.
He said: “When we carried out our consultation, we got many responses from people about their memories of the Davidson and there can’t be many people in Girvan who don’t have a connection with the hospital.
“That’s one of the main reasons why we have been so keen to see it brought back into use as a public enterprise.
“We are going to be encouraging start up businesses to come to the centre and we’re looking at the approach taken at the hatchery in Dundonald as a way to bring investment.”
Paul Torrance, an Ailsa Horizons director added: “It’s not correct to compare what Ailsa Horizons are doing with the Davidson Centre to what South Ayrshire Council have done at the Girvan Library.
“Ailsa Horizons will be taking a pro active approach to encourage businesses to set up in the centre which will provided the services that they need.”
Stuart said finally: “I should acknowledge the role that Carrick Futures played in us getting to this point. They provided us with a loan to buy the hospital and also contributed towards some of the project development costs.
“This is a good news story for Girvan and Ailsa Horizons will make it work for the community.”