Following extensive consultation with members of the local community, and the enthusiasm expressed for the conversion of the former Victorian Warehouse on George Street into a combined educational and leisure facility to celebrate the achievements of past and present residents, Helensburgh Heroes has been engaged actively in fundraising to make this possible. Planning permission for the site has been extended for a further three years and the provision of increased public parking in the vicinity has enhanced the attractiveness of this site.
While approaches to potential funding bodies have been very well received, with feedback indicating that the project has significant merit and meets the general award criteria, our efforts have been frustrated by the absence of any explicit support from Argyll and Bute Council, despite the continuing endorsement of several locally elected councillors. In light of this we have been advised that, despite the needs identified in our consultation process, confirmed by Open Days and surveys recorded on our website, the lack of tangible financial support from the Local Authority has adversely affected our case in the face of strong competition for the funds available.
Accordingly the Charity Trustees have been exploring alternative options and reduced these to two which they would like to publicise. Option one is to seek funding that does not require Local Authority financial support as a key criterion, with the second option being to open the first Heroes Centre outside of Argyll & Bute. Discussions with interested third parties have been very encouraging. A funding partner willing to put up a seven figure sum has been identified for Option one and an alternative location outwith Argyll and Bute has been proposed with support from its developers.
As the Charity’s origins are centred on Helensburgh we have decided to adopt Option one.
Working with the funding partner outlined in Option one, the Charity aims to open the George Street premises in two phases. Phase one, with late 2015 opening, would enable the Charity to start operating the facility as planned with phase two due soon thereafter. Should additional funding streams be identified earlier than planned then the Centre will open in a single phase.
The Charity is currently working to this timescale and believes at this stage that it is both realistic and workable, with much of the planning work completed, but it does recognise that it would benefit from some additional resource and expertise joining the project team.
The Board would welcome any enquiries from local people who wish to make a difference and wish to see the Heroes Centre opened next year and would be willing to volunteer their skills and expertise as either project team members or Trustees of the Charity.
Contact information firstname.lastname@example.org, call 07788 923055 or visit the Helensburgh Heroes Facebook page.