Community and cultural development

Work to begin on Oban culture centre

Oban Communities Trust (OCT) has announced the green light to start work on the refurbishment of the main building of the Rockfield Centre.

The community purchased the former school in 2015 and has been fundraising as well as offering community activities in the huts in the playground.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is contributing a funding package of £200,000 for the £3m project.

OCT has announced the works will be undertaken by local firm TSL.

OCT project facilitator Eleanor MacKinnon, said: “We are absolutely delighted. This is a major milestone in our journey. Just four years ago the vision to create a community cultural hub in the former primary school was established and here we are now ready to embark on a new and exciting life for the main building at The Rockfield Centre thanks to the support of our many funders and the wider community.

Peter McDonald from HIE’s Argyll and the Islands area team, said: ‘We are delighted to be in a position to help Oban Communities Trust with the redevelopment of the Rockfield building. The group has ambitious plans to revitalise this important community asset which will promote Oban as a location to live and work.

“The transformation will allow the building to be used as a base for community engagement within a modern community hub, serving the area and creating employment and sustainable income for the community. We are pleased to work with the group and are delighted to support this project.”

Fund raising included community shares of £210,000 from supporters of the project both within the town and further afield. The first major funder, the National Lottery Community Fund kick-started the capital works fund raising. This was boosted by Historic Environment Scotland, HIE, supporters of Oban Communities Trust from the early development stages which has pointed up the importance of The Rockfield Centre to the area’s communities and the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (Argyll & Bute Council).  

The centre is already a thriving part of the community working from two refurbished huts in the former playground. The centre’s many volunteers have helped from the start using their skills to help stabilise the buildings with support from many local trades and businesses. This work transformed the huts to support events from the day the community received the keys.

This vital support gives OCT an operational base to test and pilot activities enabling everyone to get involved. These activities will be ready to transfer to the main building when opened. 

The capital building work is expected to take a year with the main building opening in Summer 2020 when hut activities will transfer to the much larger space ready to grow and thrive.

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