A group of local artists, designers and entrepreneurs from Thornhill and the surrounding area have secured over £20,000 of funding from the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) and Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) to commission a feasibility study, business plan and initial architectural work to investigate the purchase and development of the Old School in Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway.
This B-listed building was built in 1904 and has an open central assembly hall and 5 classrooms off it. The school sits opposite the new Wallace Hall Academy and Primary; an ideal position to function as a community resource, especially for young families who congregate around the school.
A spokes person for the Thornhill Collective said –
‘We feel that the building is ideally placed to serve the economic needs of the community and become an innovative place for collaboration, co-working and community – supporting small businesses, freelancers and creatives who live in the village and the surrounding area. We have a vision for the building, but this will be shaped and inﬂuenced by engagement with the community.’
Ailsa Dagetty, Scottish Land Fund said – ‘The Community Assets Team at Highlands and Islands Enterprise are actively working with the Thornhill Collective as they progress through the Scottish Land Fund. We will continue to support the community in this capacity as they investigate the potential of buying the old school in Thornhill.’
The building and surrounding land is owned by Buccleuch who have been very helpful in giving the Thornhill Collective the time and space to make a case and raise the money to buy the building and surrounding land.
Anna Fergusson, Acting Estate Manager, Queensberry Estate said ‘We are delighted the Thornhill Collective has secured funding from the Scottish Land Fund. This marks an important milestone in their journey towards owning and operating the Old School as a community asset. Their proposal would bring great value to many of those living in and around Thornhill and we are very much looking forward to working with them to help them meet their aspirations.’
The Thornhill collective publicly launched their cause to buy and develop The Old School at the Thornhill Gala on Saturday 8th July 2017. Since then they have gained over 200 likes on their Facebook page www.facebook/oldschoolthornhill and have a website where you can register your interest www.oldschoolthornhill.co.uk. The Community Council in Thornhill have been supportive in their plans and they have gathered cross party support from councillors, local MSP’s and MP.
Over the next few months Alison Fullerton & Andy Campbell from ‘ Dress for the Weather’will be working with the collective to ﬁnd out the opinions, wishes and ideas of the community and helping to develop a sustainable business plan.
Alison Fullerton, Dress for the Weather said ‘We are delighted to be supporting the Thornhill Collective to realise their ambitions for the Old School and look forward to having lots of conversations with people living locally to help to shape the plans.’
Local Award winning Moniaive based Architect John Murray will be producing initial plans for the school to explore what could be possible:
He said ‘I am delighted to be part of the team bringing the combined vision of the community and the Thornhill Collective to life to secure a sustainable future for the Old School’
This phase will last 4 month and if all goes well a full application for purchase and development will be submitted early in 2018.