Community centre boost for Collieston

Community members involved in the project toast its success on Saturday night.
Community members involved in the project toast its success on Saturday night.

Collieston residents are celebrating the long-awaited re-opening of their community centre.

Villagers gathered on Saturday night to mark the culmination of years of hard work on the project, which cost in excess of £100,000.

Collieston's refurbished schoolhouse.

Collieston's refurbished schoolhouse.

Originally built as the village school in 1877, the former schoolrooms have been used as the community centre for the local community and Slains since the school closed in 1949.

The last tenants left the schoolhouse more than 20 years ago and the building was boarded up and became derelict.

Community councillors took on the task of seeking funding to merge the schoolhouse with the hall to make a bigger community space. Bids were made to the towns and villages category of the council’s 100 day pledge and also to the SITA Trust.

Both were successful, generating £41,000 and £56,600 respectively. At the community council’s AGM in 2012, it was agreed that an additional £10,000 from funds raised from events such as the annual gala would add to the total.

Work began on the schoolhouse roof last October, which was in need of urgent repair, and soon after a complete refurbishment of the house including new windows, doors and walls.

The breakthrough from the hall into the house resulted in an opening which has made a huge difference to the space available for community events.

Community council spokeswoman Sally Sheehan said: “Now the work has been completed, rather than having the one overcrowded, damp and draughty hall, the community can enjoy a large meeting/activity space, lots of storage room and a small meeting room which is to have an additional use as the “Heritage Room”.

“This will be used to house and display the many photographs, artefacts and memorabilia depicting Collieston of old.”

Sally, who thanked all those who had supported the project, added that local volunteers had applied the finishing touches in time for the grand re-opening.

She said: “Groups will be starting to move back to the building very soon and in July the Coastal Café, which is staffed by local young people, will be opening its doors again.

“Collieston’s annual gala, which has been held every summer since 1958, will take place at the beginning of August when members of the wider community will be welcome to come and see the improvements for themselves.”