£56k grant joy for Kirkliston

An artist's impression of the proposed village hall
An artist's impression of the proposed village hall

A grass roots community bid to bring a much-needed new amenity to Kirkliston has passed a crucial hurdle by gaining a £56,000 grant.

Launched in 2014 the effort has involved detailed and demanding work on many levels.

Now, thanks to the effort of groups including South Queensferry Rotary Club and the 1st Kirkliston Scouts, a new village hall could open its doors as soon as summer 2019.

The project has been handed the best possible start to the new year with a Scottish Land Fund grant.

The plan is to create a newbuild hall on a waste ground site bought from Edinburgh City Council for £40,000.

Jim Kerr, treasurer of Kirkliston Village Hall Association, said that while there had been the option of a 125-year lease on the site for a token £1 a year it made sense to acquire the site outright.

“Ownership gives us better leverage for future grant funding”, he said, “and while there is still plenty of fundraising to do we are on the right track and can hope to gain further grants.”

He said the support of the local community had been crucial to the project’s success – for example South Queensferry Rotarians donated £10,000, while a Forth Bridge abseil raised another £8,000.

Now the Village Hall Association is set to begin the formal planning application process for a venture which will include a 50-capacity main hall and various public areas on its second floor.

It will also have a drying green.

There will be disabled access connecting the building’s two floors, and a “vast space” at basement level for storage facilities – another major bonus for local clubs and organisations.

Jim Kerr said: “The sports centre doesn’t open all the time, and when it is open it is over-subscribed.

“Meanwhile Kirkliston is expanding by an extra two thirds of its current size, and badly needs this sort of amenity.

Lothian Conservative MSP Jeremy Balfour, who has tabled a Parliamentary motion highlighting the award, said: “I am delighted the Scottish Land Fund has awarded a grant to the Kirkliston Village Hall Association.

“The funds will allow the residents of Kirkliston to push ahead with plans to develop a new community space that when complete will support the Kirkliston community to be stronger and more sustainable.”