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Forres Town Hall granted £116,365 from Scottish Land Fund


By Garry McCartney


The town hall has been a key building in the centre of the town for nearly 200 years.
The town hall has been a key building in the centre of the town for nearly 200 years.

FORRES Town Hall has taken a step closer to being a community and business hub with a six figure grant.

Forres Area Community Trust (FACT) will use £116,365 from the Scottish Land Fund to turn the building into a venue for community, business and training events, providing community facilities, meeting rooms, study and workshop areas, training facilities and co-working hot desks.

FACT development manager Debbie Herron said: "We are delighted with the news that we have been awarded the SLF funding to buy Forres Town Hall on behalf of the community. This endorsement of our work means that we can continue to work to support the development and resilience of our community into the future."

FACT secured a Community Asset Transfer of the town hall - built in 1827-29 as the Mechanics' Institute - from Moray Council in October last year, having run the building on a transitional basis from July, 2018.

Securing community ownership and having the support of the Scottish Land Fund is another step towards redeveloping and refurbishing the building.

FACT chairman Fabio Villani said: "The Scottish Land Fund’s generous support enables us to further develop our plans for its future. It marks an important milestone in the history of Forres, as one more key element of the town’s heritage is fully returned to the direct care of the local community. It also marks an important milestone in the development of FACT as a key organisation in helping the people of Forres make the most of the Town’s many assets."

The Scottish Land Fund reopened to applications in April 2016. The programme is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership by the National Lottery Community Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, both of which help communities acquire and develop their assets.

Scottish Land Fund, Minister, Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham said: "The Scottish Land Fund continues to support a wide range of projects and these most recent awards- from woodlands to shops and from community centres to housing - demonstrating the quality and variety of community projects right across Scotland. The Scottish Government will continue to support and encourage communities, both urban and rural, to realise their ambitions and take control of their own futures."

Head of Community Assets at HIE, Sandra Holmes, said: "This successful project is an example of people taking control of local resources for the long-term benefit of their community. We wish FACT the very best in their new venture."

Contact FACT on 01309 674388, info@forresarea.org or attend the town hall office from 10am-1pm through the week.

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