Cash boost for Ne­vis Cen­tre wel­comed

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

STAFF at Fort Wil­liam’s Ne­vis Cen­tre are feel­ing ‘ very for­tu­nate’ af­ter the Highland Coun­cil agreed £250,000 fund­ing for the venue.

The cen­tre ap­plied for the money through the Highland Coun­cil’s cap­i­tal dis­cre­tionary fund and the bid was ac­cepted by Highland coun­cil­lors on Wed­nes­day (Fe­bru­ary 8). The cash will be used for ur­gent re­pairs to the roof which has been leak­ing.

Ne­vis Cen­tre man­ager Kenny McLaugh­lin told The

Oban Times: ‘It’s fan­tas­tic. The money will make a huge dif­fer­ence. We can’t do any­thing in­ter­nally un­til the roof is fixed, so this is the first big step.’

Mr McLaugh­lin said that in fu­ture they will be look­ing at up­grad­ing the foyer. He said: ‘The cen­tre is 25 years old now and a lot of it needs up­grad­ing so we are very for­tu­nate to be awarded the money.

‘It also means jobs at the cen­tre have been se­cured. The cen­tre brings in a lot of money for the com­mu­nity when we have con­certs with 700 peo­ple and it’s good we won’t lose that.’

Caol and Mal­laig coun­cil­lor Ben Thomp­son said: ‘ The Ne­vis Cen­tre is im­por­tant to both the econ­omy and com­mu­nity of Lochaber. I want to see it re­vi­talised into some­thing like an Eden Court for the West High­lands.

‘I was con­cerned the coun­cil, be­ing un­der se­vere bud­get pres­sure, would not agree with the pro­posal to fix the roof. In fact of­fi­cials rec­om­mended the de­ci­sion be post­poned.

‘Thanks to the ef­forts of the hard-work­ing staff, vol­un­teer man­age­ment board and users of the cen­tre, plus sup­port from lo­cal coun­cil­lors, we were able to turn the rec­om­men­da­tion around into an agree­ment to fund it now.

‘It’s re­ally im­por­tant the roof is fixed as soon as pos­si­ble, as that will al­low the cen­tre to find other fun­ders to help with fur­ther re­fur­bish­ment. It’s also im­por­tant be­cause events like the Mód are com­ing to Fort Wil­liam this year.

‘It will make a huge dif­fer­ence to our abil­ity to con­tinue to host ma­jor events if the Mód is a suc­cess and is held in a suit­able build­ing.

‘It’s also great news for staff, who will now have more con­fi­dence they have the back­ing of the coun­cil.’

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