The redevelopment of the old school in Lockerbie has taken a step closer with the news that the Scottish Government is recommending that Dumfries and Galloway Council receive £2.6 million funding for the project.
The funding will enable the Council to top-up an earlier award of £774,755 made to a local charity, Lockerbie Old School group, in November 2021 for a £6 million project to redevelop the Dryfesdale Old School Building. The project will form a new Community Wellbeing and Enterprise Centre. Since that date, the group has helped the Council to prepare a bid that was submitted to the Scottish Government in October 2022.
This project will refurbish the 145-year-old building in Dryfe Road, Lockerbie and will create a new Community Hub as well as 8 new flats, being developed and delivered by Cunninghame Housing Association (CHA), which will provide bespoke assisted living accommodation. CHA has been a supporter of the project and the new Centre will see the latest phase of its regeneration within Lockerbie of the nearby former Academy site and now the former Council building at Dryfe Road.
The project is one of 23 across Scotland receiving a share of a £27 million fund that aims to support projects in disadvantaged and rural communities across Scotland. The grant to the Council will be the second largest in Scotland.
The Centre will provide a range of flexible and adaptable spaces for the whole community and offer locals a full programme of activities, including business start-up courses, spaces for innovation, health and wellbeing activities, art and culture and much needed meeting room space. The new flats will provide new homes for local people, supported by Turning Point Scotland.
A range of additional funders are supporting the project including South of Scotland Enterprise, the Holywood Trust, Magnox, Muirhall Energy, Robertson Trust and Pan Am 103 Trust.
The new Centre will create employment for permanent members of staff as well as much needed space for local service providers and a wide range of volunteering opportunities.
Katie Hagmann, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy and Resources Committee said: “We are delighted with today’s news that this significant project in Lockerbie has been awarded such a substantial amount of money from Scottish Government in recognition of its value to the local community. This is a reflection of the hard work put in by the committee of volunteers who had the positive vision of creating a shared, multi-use facility for the town. In addition to the funding already awarded by our Council and stakeholders, this will provide a much needed centre for wellbeing, enterprise and the Arts. Extremely well done to all involved.
”Vice Chair of Economy and Resources Committee, Sean Marshall said: “This is fantastic news, not only for the benefits it will provide to local people, but also to see this 145 year old historic local school brought back into use. Our Council actively promotes Community Asset Transfers for this very reason: to provide ownership to local community groups of significant local buildings, to safeguard them for the future, and to provide opportunities and venues to address local requirements. In addition to the added employment providing a welcome boost to the local economy, this is good news all round.”
Chair of the Lockerbie Old School charity, Jackie Moffat, said: “I cannot begin to tell you how excited myself and my fellow Trustees are with the news that the Council have secured the £2.63 million funding for us. This marks a historic point in our journey, because as a result we have now achieved 100% of the £5.1 million we need to bring the dream we have had since 2013 to reality. I would like to thank our key partners – Dumfries and Galloway Council, Cunninghame Housing Association and South of Scotland Enterprise with all their help and support. Without them and our other funders, none of this would have been possible”
The Group Chief Executive of Cunninghame Housing Association, Frank Sweeney, said: “This is phenomenal news for Lockerbie and for the D&G Region as a whole. It’s taken a lot of time and effort from all partner organisations to develop the project to this level and huge thanks to Dumfries and Galloway Council for their support and application to the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund in support of this project, which will help regenerate and benefit Lockerbie and the wider community. The staff and volunteer members of the LOS Board have spent many years developing plans for this Old School building and this additional financial commitment will help see this come to fruition. A huge well done to all parties. The Association are fully committed to the continued support as a project partner and assisting wherever it can until the Centre opens and beyond.”