A VILLAGE’S dream of a community hall large enough to cater for the demands of its growing population has moved a step closer with the announcement of a £50,000-plus grant to buy the land for the project.
Kirkliston Village Hall Association was awarded the cash to allow them to take over a former playground which has lain derelict near the centre of the village for over 20 years.
And the grant of £56,500 from the Scottish Land Fund, financed by the Scottish Government and administered by the Big Lottery Fund, will pave the way for applications for other lottery money to help pay for the building itself.
Jim Kerr, treasurer of Kirkliston Village Hall Association, said people were delighted with the news of the grant, which represented a huge advance in securing a much-needed facility for the village, which is undergoing major expansion.
He said: “It all started with the scouts and other kids’ clubs not having places to go with the growth of the housing. We identified this piece of land in Manse Road which was derelict, we produced a business plans and had a feasibility study, and in January last year we reached an agreement with the city council to buy or lease the land.”
Mr Kerr said since 2013 there had been more than 2000 new homes built or under construction in Kirkliston, adding: “All the kids’ clubs and after-school groups had waiting lists as long as your arm, with nowhere for them to go.”
The association drew up plans for a community centre to cater for after-school clubs, dance groups, scouts, brownies, indoor youth football, children’s summer camps, as well as some adult classes like badminton.
“It’s a sloping piece of land so on the top part we would have a meeting space and a kitchen cafe area with a big viewing window onto the main hall downstairs and a driveway at the back for a minibus.”
The whole project, including purchase of the land and construction of the building, is estimated to cost around £660,000.
As well as applying for lottery grants, the association is also doing its own fundraising. Last year, it raised £8500 from the Forth Bridge abseil and this year it is hoping a team of up to 30 will take part, raising around £15,000.
Mr Kerr said the aim was to submit the planning application for the hall by the end of February and building work could start in early 2019.
He said: “We are going to have an open day soon in the local library so everyone can see the progress we’ve made and the latest drawings.”
He said once it was built the hall would make a huge difference in Kirkliston. “It will give a much-needed meeting space. It will bring the community together and give young people a place to go.”