The Drill Hall - A community hub
The top priority by far in our Community Consultation was a Community Hub for Thurso. The Caithness & Sutherland Local Area Plan which our community contributed towards in the Thurso Charrettes of 2014 also identified this as a priority. Two areas of the town are briefly mentioned. The Tennis Courts area for a new build centre and The Drill Hall in Sinclair Street.
We've thought about both. The first option of the Tennis Courts is a possible back up plan if the Drill Hall is not going to be feasible. Funding sources are not as large as they used to be. One of the main funders for a project like this would be The National Lottery. But, less of us play the lottery now so million pounds plus projects have more difficulty in being funded. A new build would be looking at that scale of funding.
The Drill Hall represents a building which already has a large hall, 250 square meters. It has a historic presence in the town and is widely accepted that community use would be the best means of securing its future. However, this will require a huge amount of work, enthusiasm, support and funding!
We are currently speaking to architects and other people who can help with the all important surveys, feasibility studies and community consultation. Because when it comes to it we will come back and ask our wonderful Thurso community what you would like to see in the building, we are attempting to create a community hub for us all. We have spoken to The National Lottery and based on the information supplied so far have been invited to submit a Stage One Application to the Scottish Land Fund. This Stage One funding will help pay for all of these surveys, create a business plan and for us to work out what and how the building should be. It will also do the important work of looking at the building structurally to ensure that it is fit for the purpose we would like.
If successful in gaining this funding and then doing all the work and if we can prove that the building and our plans are feasible we will move onto a Stage Two application which will enable us to purchase the building. At the same time we will commence the process of sourcing the funding to restore and make the building fit for use.