Ne­vis Cen­tre up­grade plans to be un­veiled at pub­lic meet­ing

The Oban Times - - News - EL­LIE FORBES eforbes@oban­times.co.uk

We are look­ing for their com­ments on what they think of our plans

DE­TAILS of a £1.5m re­fur­bish­ment of the Ne­vis Cen­tre in Fort Wil­liam will be un­veiled later this month by op­er­a­tors Linnhe Leisure.

Plans to fix the 20-year- old leak­ing roof and re- de­sign the foyer are among the items to be dis­cussed at a pub­lic meet­ing on Tues­day June 27.

De­spite a cut in fund­ing from the High­land Coun­cil of al­most 50 per cent last year, the cen­tre has ap­pointed Fort Wil­liam ar­chi­tects Kear­ney Don­ald Part­ner­ship to draw up plans for the project which it is hoped will start later this year. Speak­ing to the Lochaber

Times, Linnhe Leisure chair­woman Sheana Fraser said she hopes to give the com­mu­nity a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of how the cen­tre is run and a chance to get in­volved with the up­grade of this ‘ vi­tal com­mu­nity re­source’.

‘The Ne­vis Cen­tre build­ing is leased by the High­land Coun­cil, but Linnhe Leisure is the char­i­ta­ble com­pany, man­aged by vol­un­teers, that runs the cen­tre. This is a com­mu­nity re­source and all the money that is made goes back into the com­pany and the run­ning of the cen­tre.

‘With this pub­lic event, we are ask­ing what peo­ple want to see done with the Ne­vis Cen­tre and will be show­ing, in par­tic­u­lar, what the foyer area could look like. We are look­ing for their com­ments on what they think of our plans.

‘We want to make the foyer more wel­com­ing and more of a so­cial space for peo­ple com­ing in. But the roof leaks so badly we can’t do any­thing in­side un­til it is fixed and that’s go­ing to cost us more than £ 350,000.

‘If the cen­tre is re­fur­bished we hope that would en­cour­age more peo­ple to use it and de­velop into new mar­kets, in­clud­ing busi­nesses us­ing the space for con­fer­ences or work­shops. There’s po­ten­tial there that has not been fully de­vel­oped. That way we can bring in more in­come and make it more sus­tain­able, be­cause we need to make up the grant fund­ing we have lost.’

De­spite a year- on-year cut in fund­ing from the lo­cal au­thor­ity, the coun­cil awarded the cen­tre £250,000 through its cap­i­tal dis­cre­tionary fund last year.

‘ We are de­lighted the cap­i­tal fund gave us £250,000, but we are still on a fund­ing pack­age. We have some cap­i­tal re­serves and we have the sup­port of HIE and LEADER.’

The cen­tre has faced chal­leng­ing times over the last four years, but Ms Fraser said it is look­ing to the future: ‘The busi­nesses has now sta­bilised, thanks to new man­age­ment and com­mit­ted staff. We are look­ing to the future.’

Head along to the Ne­vis Cen­tre on Tues­day June 27 be­tween 2pm and 4pm to see the plans and have your say.

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