Local charity welcomes Council Leader as work begins on Millport Town Hall
Posted on 7 Sep 2021
With the community asset transfer from North Ayrshire Council now complete and keys in hand, a local charity is ramping up plans to restore Millport’s landmark location.
Formed by a range of community groups and partners who have come together, Friends of Millport Town Hall charity was established with an aim of breathing new life into the Town Hall that has been closed for the last five years.
Council Leader Joe Cullinane visited the Isle of Cumbrae last week to learn more about the charity’s ambitious renovation plans.
Due for completion in early summer 2022, restoration works include a new accessible entrance and the creation of multi-use flexible spaces incorporating a Community Hub, Arts and Culture Centre, starter Men’s Shed, main staged hall and three holiday let flats.
A second phase will see a Heritage and Conservation Centre in the basement.
A great deal of preparatory work has already taken place over the past three years and the Council’s Community Investment Fund (CIF) has committed £200,000 ensuring the charity can take ownership of the Town Hall.
And earlier this year Millport Town Hall charity celebrated a milestone victory securing £1.5 million Scottish Government Funding from the Regeneration Capital Trust Fund with a further £15,000 from the North Ayrshire Ventures Trust (NAVT).
Angie McCallum, Chair of Trustees commented: “Millport Town Hall really is an important building to our community and we are so grateful for the help of NAC in securing vital CIF funding.
“The Community Investment Fund has been so helpful to us as a starting point and to have a local fund with local knowledge makes everything so much easier in realising our shared goals.
“We’ve been able to use this money to help get over quite a few hurdles, it’s not been restricted so we’ve had the benefit of being able to use it where we really need to.
“The Town Hall is such a big building with so many multi-functional rooms and a huge hall to bring the community and visitors of Cumbrae together, so we are all really excited for the months ahead as renovation works get underway.”
The charity aims to create a welcoming and accessible community hub where local community groups can meet, get involved in community events, be active in sports and enjoy exciting amateur and professional performances on the Town Hall’s main stage.
Angie continued: “We will also be able to create a meeting space to bring our local community heroes together – a place for our Postie to have a cup of tea and give care workers a space to come and have a sit down. We want to create a welcoming space really for anyone in the community who needs it where they can make memories, have parties, host film clubs… the list really is endless.
“And the best part is, our local residents will run this fantastic facility themselves which really will sit at the heart of our Island community.”
The plans for the Town Hall are based around the Council’s Community Wealth Building model with local partners and anchor organisations – in this case the Council – working together to develop a project that can benefit the whole area both economically and socially.
Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council and Cabinet Member for Community Wealth Building said: “The work being carried out to regenerate Millport Town Hall is absolutely fantastic and a shining example of how Community Wealth Building – the economic model adopted by the Council – can work in practice.
“It’s about working in partnership with our communities to make the absolute best of our resources to benefit the local economy.
“Millport Town Hall charity and their volunteers are doing a brilliant job in bringing this fantastic local facility back into productive use. It’s really great to see that the Community Investment Fund has opened up other funding doors for them, to have secured over £2million funding in the last three years is really incredible.
“The Town Hall building was built in 1878 and the plans the charity have underway to breathe new life into this important historical landmark will see it be a real asset to the Island once more.
“And now with contracts signed to begin the works hopefully next month, we will soon start to see some amazing work starting here, putting Millport Town Hall back on the map as a much-needed community facility that will benefit the whole Island.”
The Friends of Millport Town Hall charity will launch a Crowdfunding campaign on Wednesday 8 September, details can be found on the Facebook page here and you can donate directly from Wednesday at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/millport-town-hall