Com­mu­nity hall de­serves sup­port

The Oban Times - - Letters -

Sir, Most com­mu­ni­ties in Scot­land have com­mu­nity cen­tres - big­ger towns, big­ger cen­tres, and vil­lages have vil­lage halls. The gen­eral view is that they should be self-sup­port­ing.

Over the past num­ber of years Ard­gour Me­mo­rial Hall has gone from the dis­mal pic­ture of per­haps hav­ing to close, to the present day when the hall has been com­pletely ren­o­vated, ex­cept for the pro­vi­sion of new toi­lets.

De­spite the hard work of the com­mit­tee, £10,000 to £15,000 is still re­quired to com­plete the ren­o­va­tion. It is just a pit­tance re­ally when you think of its neigh­bours eight miles away, the Ne­vis Cen­tre in Fort Wil­liam.

There was some wring­ing of hands when the High­land Coun­cil’s com­mit­tee (ECAS) de­cided fund­ing would be slashed from £166,000 to just £91,000 for the year 2017-18. The coun­cil has been sub­si­dis­ing the Ne­vis Cen­tre to the sum of £166,000 per an­num.

But there is more: the High­land Coun­cil has agreed that £250,000 be used for ur­gent re­pairs to the roof of the build­ing. The chair­per­son of Linnh Leisure, which op­er­ates the cen­tre, states: ‘The build­ing is more than 20 years old and at the end of its use­ful life.’

The Ard­gour Me­mo­rial Hall com­mit­tee has en­sured the hall has been self-suf­fi­cient year af­ter year and it was suc­cess­ful in rais­ing the money re­quired to ren­o­vate the hall, fall­ing short by just £10,000 to £15,000.

Surely when the High­land Coun­cil can see fit to sub­sidise the Ne­vis Cen­tre it would be will­ing to en­cour­age a com­mit­tee which has shown such en­ter­prise and grant it even a frac­tion of the money re­quired to fin­ish the project.

As the Lochaber Times of Thurs­day March 30 pointed out, the com­mu­nity hall on Raasay find them­selves in need of £18,000 to fund re­pairs. The im­por­tance of com­mu­nity and vil­lage halls can­not be over-stated and I would like to think that it could be a com­fort to the com­mit­tees of these en­ter­prises that the High­land Coun­cil’s com­mit­tee (ECAS) con­sid­ers it pru­dent to sub­sidise one com­mu­nity cen­tre in such a mag­nan­i­mous ges­ture. John Mait­land, St Mo­nance, North Cor­ran, Ard­gour.

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