Renfrewshire Council

Plan to turn ex-army barracks in Paisley into community hub receives funding boost

A proposal by Paisley Opera to turn an ex-army barracks into a community hub and rehearsal space has received a funding boost.

The group received £6,700 from our Community Empowerment Fund to carry out a commercial building survey, community consultation and develop a business plan for the former Whitehaugh Barracks in the East End of Paisley.

Paisley Opera launched two years ago with the aim of introducing opera music to people who would not normally listen to it. It now has over 50 members in its community chorus and is working with local schools to start a children's chorus.

Pat Kelly, Treasurer of the group, said: "Having this facility in the East End of Paisley would be fabulous for us.

"We've been successful at getting people to sing with us over the last couple of years, we've generates a fair amount of interest and our two full-scale performances have been very well received and attended. What we need now is a space where we can rehearse."

The group now intends to carry out a commercial building survey to check the building is suitable for their purposes before consulting with the community on their plans for the ex-barracks. It will also have to apply for a Community Asset Transfer for the plans to go ahead.

Pat added: "We don't want this building for ourselves, we want it to be a facility for people of all ages in the area.

"We want to carry out a community consultation to see what the people of Paisley really want to do with this building and whether they support our ideas. We've got a list of what we think people would like but, at the end of the day, it's the community that will decide what goes in there. We have the expertise in-house to manage the building but we'll be guided by what the community want to do with it.

"We are very excited about the project, it's perfect for our purposes. If configured properly, it could be a very welcoming place."

Paisley Opera was not the only group to receive money the Community Empowerment Fund. The STAR Project also received £20,000 to build a labyrinth in Fountain Gardens in Paisley, while the 18th Paisley & District (Coats) Scout Group and Foxbar Community Garden & Environmental Projects Group were each awarded £10,000 to carry out feasibility studies into new community facilities in Foxbar.

Our Community Empowerment Fund provides grants to community groups that want to take over ownership and the running of a publicly owned building or piece of land in their local area through Community Asset Transfer. It is currently in its sixth round of funding, with applications to the seventh round of the fund closing on Tuesday 3 September 2019.

To find out how to apply to the fund, visit http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/CommunityEmpowermentFund. If you want to find out more about the fund or you have an idea you would like to discuss before applying, contact Kellie Miller, Community Empowerment Lead, on 0141 618 3920.

Published: 20 August 2019

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