Thornhill Old School (OST) received its first award today of £350,000 from The Holywood Trust for the full capital refurbishment of the former Old School. The funding will also contribute to an activity programme to be run alongside the capital project.
The partly derelict building was bought by members of the community in 2018 and a charity set up to take the project forward. OST want to build a strong, collaborative community in Thornhill and the surrounding DG3 area that combats rural isolation
and nurtures rural entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.
OST will be for a broad church of people from artists and creatives to groups and charities, from freelancers to small local businesses, from children to students. Once complete, it will house up to 40 individuals / organisations and have a major impact on the economic, social and environmental fabric of the area.
A key feature of the project is the provision of a ‘Room 13’ model, which is an international network of creative studios led by children and young people. This will be delivered in partnership with Wallace Hall Academy. OST recently distributed its newsletter to every household in DG3 updating the community on its progress and getting an input on the final design.
The project has recently been awarded £100,000 from Dumfries and Galloway council’s Town Centre Living Fund. Enablement work will start later in the summer to repair the fabric of the building and get it ready for a full capital
refurbishment. Applications are now underway to other funders to cover the cost of the £1.8 million capital cost. When successful, OST will seek to work with local contractors giving a boost to the local economy.
Thornhill resident and OST Board trustee Pat Kirby said:
‘I am excited to be part of OST and pleased with the progress we have made. After the commitment by the council, The Holywood Trust is the first funder to come on board. There is a still some way to go but we feel like we have the momentum to find the other
funding necessary to start work next year.’
Karen Ward Boyd, director of The Holywood Trust commented:
“The Trust is absolutely delighted to be able to provide OST with its first major capital grant, contributing to the redevelopment of the old school building, to create a vibrant and inclusive hub for the wider community of Thornhill and the DG3 area. The proposals
for the building demonstrate a strong commitment to providing excellent facilities and opportunities for local young people. The Holywood Trust’s investment in the project is testament to the solid work achieved to date by the organisation and its vibrant and
positive vision for the future. We hope that the Trust’s commitment will enable other funders to see the value of the project and help lever in other funding required.”