Future is looking good for community-owned centre

Coldstream Community Centre
Coldstream Community Centre

Five years after opening its doors Coldstream Community Centre has reached a landmark. It’s now breaking even.

Developing the imposing redundant church building on the town’s High Street into a community centre able to host community events, weddings, concerts, markets youth sessions and sport was no easy task.

It took a full ten years to turn the empty building into a facility open to the public.

Many obstacles and set-backs along the way have been overcome, thanks to the determined committee who stuck with it and funders who provided grants to enable the work. This includes £80,000 from Big Lottery People’s Millions.

A grant from the Tudor Trust paid the salaries of a part-time development manager, administrator and caretaker – the expectation being that at the end of the three year funding period the centre would be well on its way to paying its own way. But treasurer James Tweddle has reported to the committee that this goal has finally been achieved.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the management committee will be taking their foot off the pedal. Far from it.

Locals have made such good use of the centre that plans for the second phase of the community-owned building’s new lease of life are now taking shape.

“It’s accepted that not everything has been perfect and one major investment we plan to make is improving the heating in the main hall, the Tweed Room,” said Alex Thomson , chairman of the centre’s management committee.

“We’ve had a number of experts look at it and most agree that the heating system already there is the most efficient. But putting insulation above the hall ceiling, secondary glazing, and fans to push the warm air back down should help to maintain a comfortable temperature.

“Draft proofing throughout, and insulation in the Leet Room and the store room will also make the building more energy efficient and encourage more people to use the building for all sorts of functions and events.

“We’re also looking at moving from a trust to a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO).

“This will give the management committee and trustees a greater degree of protection against personal liability while avoiding the rules and regulations incurred by becoming a company.

“We’d like to see as many people as possible come to our AGM, on Wednesday, November 20, with their thoughts on the future of the centre.”