Helensburgh Advertiser

Locals voice support for cinema buyout proposals

- Emma Reilly

THE team behind plans to bring Helensburg­h’s cinema and arts centre into community ownership has said they are “absolutely delighted” at residents’ responses to the idea.

The Save the Tower Community Buyout Steering Group welcomed hundreds of people to an engagement event at the Tower Digital Arts Centre, where they set out their proposals for the popular venue.

Filling out the main auditorium to its capacity of 300, visitors watched a short movie made about the facility’s history and potential, a presentati­on on the transition process and saw what the future could look like for The Tower.

Paul Lyden, the steering group’s chair, told the Advertiser: “Everybody was positive and enthusiast­ic, we were absolutely delighted with the event.

“We were expecting some people would come along and have concerns and worries, so we were absolutely prepared to answer any negativity. But there was absolutely none.

“After the meeting we were absolutely over the moon,and it’s encouraged us to continue.”

A consultant from the Community Ownership Support Service also gave a presentati­on at the event and a representa­tive from the Phoenix Cinema in Oban, which has been community owned for the last 10 years, spoke to the crowd before the floor was opened to questions.

Here, the public offered fundraisin­g ideas, while charities and community groups expressed their interest in the developmen­t, as well as keenness to use the facility in the future.

Finally, Glasgow-based tribute band The James Experience: Born of Frustratio­n treated visitors to a set lasting around 30 minutes.

Politician­s present at the event included local MSP Jackie Baillie, Argyll and Bute Provost and Helensburg­h resident Maurice Corry, and local Helensburg­h councillor­s.

Ms Baillie said: “The event at The Tower was very well attended and shows the backing and support that the community is willing to give to local people trying to do something positive.

“The Tower is a great event space and I am keen, as are residents, to see it utilised.

“I was pleased to support the efforts of the local community to retain it for the future.”

The group will now apply to the Scottish Land Fund for the first phase of funding, which will cover a full survey of the building and guarantee the venue is fit for purpose.

If all goes to plan, the group will then apply for phase two funding, which will allow them to buy the building and bring it into community ownership.

 ?? ?? The Save the Tower Community Buyout Steering Group’s members. Image: Save the Tower Arts Centre
The Save the Tower Community Buyout Steering Group’s members. Image: Save the Tower Arts Centre

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