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Scottish Land Fund cash secures future of Duns volunteer hall

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Area:
Scotland
Programme:
Scottish Land Fund
Release date:
28 9 2017

The future of a thriving community hub in the town centre of Duns in the Scottish Borders has been secured, thanks to Scottish Land Fund cash announced today (THURS 28 SEPTEMBER).

A Heart for Duns manages the town’s Volunteer Hall on behalf of the community and has leased the building since 2014. Now, thanks to a Scottish Land Fund grant of £206,000, the group will be able to purchase the building, which will empower local people to be involved in its future development.

Since taking over the lease of the hall three years ago, A Heart for Duns has taken the venue from strength to strength, along the way increasing the number of community groups using it for a variety of activities ranging from plays, musical theatre and dance through to community celebrations, sports and fitness, and a monthly cinema club.

Welcoming the news, Derek Janes, Convenor of A Heart for Duns, said: “The trustees are very excited by the investment from the Scottish Land Fund into the community of Duns and district. We are delighted at the level of support we have received from community groups, strategic partners and funders, and we look forward to the next stages of development that will follow once we own the venue. Working with the community, we plan to transform this key asset for the town, making it even more fit for purpose, energy efficient, equipped with digital technologies, and with more flexible performance and work spaces. There’s a lot of work ahead but this grant gives us a solid base on which to build.”

Announcing the funding, John Watt, Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, said: “I am delighted to see another enterprising community take control of its own future with Scottish Land Fund assistance. When considering this project for funding, the committee was very impressed with the community consultation that has brought Heart of Duns to this point. It is clear for the popularity of the building that there is a great desire to continue developing and enhancing the hall’s facilities and in doing ensuring that it remains a thriving community hub for people now and in the future.”

Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham, said: “I warmly welcome this award from the Scottish Land Fund for Duns. It shows that there are a number of routes open to local groups who want to realise the potential of key community facilities – in this case, a leasing arrangement allowed the group to manage the facility, build their capacity to take on the challenges, and then put together a successful application for support to buy outright. It shows that groups who are already involved with assets at some level can still go on and achieve outright ownership if they wish.”

Ailsa Raeburn, Head of Community Assets for HIE, said: “More and more communities are taking control of their future by purchasing land and assets that matter to them. Heart for Duns now has a great opportunity to take the hall and create a place where the real spirit of their community can flourish.”

SCOTTISH BORDERS - £206,000

The Scottish Land Fund is keen to support more applications from across Scotland and particularly within urban areas. Groups considering applying should contact the Big Lottery Fund to discuss their idea at advicescotland@biglotteryfund.org.uk or by phoning 0300 123 7110.

For more information on this release please contact

Big Lottery Fund Scotland press office
Scott.oakley@biglotteryfund.org.uk
0141 242 1524

Highland and Islands Enterprise Press Office
calum.macfarlane@hient.co.uk
01463 244244

Notes to editors

  • The Scottish Land Fund reopened to applications in April 2016. The programme is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership by the Big Lottery Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, both of which have extensive experience of helping communities to acquire and develop their assets for over a decade.
  • The SLF Committee was appointed following the normal procedures for public appointments.
  • The BIG Lottery Fund distributes lottery funding to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. It also uses its expertise in grant-giving to distribute non-Lottery funding. Full details of the BIG Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk. BIG Lottery Fund Public Enquiries Line call: 0300 123 7110.
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) delivers the Scottish Government Economic Strategy across more than half of Scotland - from Shetland to Argyll and from the Hebrides to Moray. It aims to support businesses and social enterprises; strengthen communities and fragile areas; develop key sectors, and create the conditions for a competitive and low carbon region. HIE has an annual budget of more than £75m and employs around 250 people in locations around the Highlands and Islands. See more at www.hie.co.uk
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