Millport Town Hall regeneration awarded more funding

The restoration of Millport’s famous Town Hall has received a major boost.

Millport Town Hall regeneration awarded more funding

An additional £364,478 has been granted to the project by Scottish Ministers meaning proposals to breathe new life into the landmark building can now move up a gear.

Spearheaded by Millport Town Hall Charity with support from North Ayrshire Council, the project last year secured £1.5 million Scottish Government funding from the Regeneration Capital Trust Fund (RCTF). The Council and North Coast and Cumbraes Locality Partnership committed £200,000 through the Community Investment Fund (CIF) with a further £15,000 from the North Ayrshire Ventures Trust (NAVT). An additional £537,710 was raised by the group itself the project is recognised as a locally-led regeneration project.

With rising costs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Scottish Ministers this week agreed to top-up the RCTF grant with a further £364,478 to ensure the project can go ahead as planned.

Angela McCallum, chair of Trustees, said: “This uplift to our funds is a wonderful way to look forwards to the New Year.

“Millport Town Hall has faced increasing challenges this year due to the context of the external and political climate, the complexity of our funding partnership, the Covid pandemic and the resultant increase in material prices.

“Grateful thanks are extended not only to the Scottish Government but to North Ayrshire Council, Local Councillors and the Locality Partnership for their continued support and encouragement.

“Thanks also need to go to our wide range of supporters and volunteers who keep us going in so many ways. Mention also must be made of the neighbours on all sides to the property and their forbearance.

“The start of the building work at the end of September was a huge boost for the community and a renewed interest in the project for many.  Residents were encouraged to take away downtaken wood for firewood and upcycling projects.

“We have been delighted so far to have been able to provide six local employment opportunities to date through this project.  Several have been self-employed on a consultancy basis, one as a member of the construction group and our first PAYE employee as a Community Liaison Officer engaged for two years through National Lottery funding. This Officer will engage with individuals, residents, and groups to develop bookings, events and whole island initiatives. We have also engaged a local person as Clerk of Works for the duration of the build to ensure best spend of our funding.”

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.

North Ayrshire Council leader Joe Cullinane said: “Our team has been hand-in-hand with Millport Town Hall Charity to ensure we can bring this important building back into community use.

“The funding will ensure the exciting plans can be realised and that’s excellent news for everyone involved – those who will use the town hall regularly as well as the wider impact of supporting community wealth building by creating new jobs and the positive effect on the local economy.

“I visited the hall during the summer and have been so impressed by the dedication and commitment to restoring this focal point for the community in Millport. It’s about working in partnership with our communities and empowering them to make the absolute best of our resources to benefit the local community.”

The 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.

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