Last month, the Friends of Dundonald Castle SCIO celebrated the acceptance of our Community Asset Transfer bid by South Ayrshire Council. The charity applied to purchase the existing visitor centre and a small area of land adjacent to it, owned by the local authority, for £28,000.
Now we are celebrating again after the Scottish Land Fund awarded us a grant of £29,000 to complete the purchase.
The Scottish Land Fund is a programme which supports community organisations across Scotland to own land, buildings and other assets. Funded by the Scottish Government, grants of up to £1 million are available. The current programme runs from 2016-2021 with an annual budget of £10 million.
At the time of the application for the CAT, Depute council leader Councillor Brian McGinley, Labour, described it as a “robust and proactive proposal.”, while Councillor Julie Dettbarn, SNP, said: “It is a picture-perfect asset transfer.”
FODC want the plot to build a replacement visitor hub as the current space presented by the building is now too small to meet the needs of both locals and visitors.
Now local MP Dr Phillipa Whitford, who has visited the Visitor Centre in the past has said that “I am delighted that the Friends of Dundonald Castle have had their funding bid approved to buy the Castle Visitor Centre. I wish to congratulate them and commend them on all their hard work. It is a great first step on the way to achieving their long-term aim of building a new, larger Centre, which will be a fantastic asset to both the local community and visitors.”
Earlier in the year local MSP Jeanne Freeman had offered a lot of support and had commented that: “we can see why you would be so very excited about this asset transfer project.”
She was referring to the current programmes and those planned for the future at the Visitor Centre. These include the highly rated education programme and community heritage programme. Both help educate visitors, and the community, about the fundamental role the castle played in the history of Scotland, and indeed the UK, as the birthplace of the Stewart Dynasty.
Ownership of the Centre will enable FODC to develop the centre so that it is able to provide a better quality experience for all, and will be equally important in helping FODC to expand the community support programmes already established at the Centre.
Finally, a massive thank you to all our friends, visitors, regulars and local community groups and individuals for all their support and encouragement throughout the process. This is truly a success for the whole community! 🎉