I am delighted to announce that my charity, The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety (ScotCPS), has been awarded funding from the Big Lottery Fund Our Place and The Architectural Heritage Fund to undertake a feasibility study for the redevelopment of the former Barony St John’s church building in Ardrossan.
We secured £8,556.00 from the Big Lottery Fund Our Place and £3,000.00 from The Architectural Heritage Fund through their Project Viability Grant Scheme.
The funding will enable us to engage consultants and building professionals to undertake a condition survey, development study and options appraisal which will provide my charity with:
- A business plan;
- Indicative capital & revenue costs;
- Analysis of strategic business opportunities;
- Assessment of and report on the asset/fabric of the church building;
- And an outline development cost appraisal and a final report with recommendations.
If the redevelopment of this Category “B” listed church is successful, the number of people who will use the completed buildings will be dependent on the final option chosen for the redevelopment i.e. which option for the future use of the church building will be the most viable and sustainable in the long term.
Options which could be considered include an Events Centre similar to St. Luke’s (a converted church in Glasgow which now hosts live bands, weddings and functions);
Or the church building could link in with Ardrossan’s clipper ship and sea port history and become a Maritime Heritage Centre;
Or it could be developed into a residential dormitory offering bunk-house style accommodation and/or become a Respite Care Centre supporting the charity’s service delivery outcomes (we provide personal safety training to businesses and groups but particularly female and child victims of violence).
Whichever is chosen, the main area of benefit will be the North Ayrshire Our Place area of Ardrossan Central and North East however this area may well increase depending on which final option is chosen for the building’s future use.
Some of the questions that we (ScotCPS) are looking to be answered from the feasibility study are –
- Can this beautiful iconic building, the Barony St John’s Church, be saved?
- If so, what could it be used for?
- How will this benefit the community?
- How much would it cost to save and convert the building?
- Who will fund this?
- And also whatever the options maybe, what is the viability for the long term?
The Barony St John’s Church also holds a significant position in the history of Scottish religious buildings. Built in 1844, New Ardrossan Parish Church, as it was known then, became the first parish church in Scotland to become “Quoad Sacra” in 1851 following the New Parishes (Scotland) Act of 1844.
This effectively meant that New Ardrossan Parish Church was not a civil parish, unlike all preceding parish churches, and therefore had ecclesiastical functions but no local government functions (such as educating parish children). This had been a requirement of all parishes under “Quoad Omnia” up until the introduction of the new act in 1844.
The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety and myself would like to thank everyone involved in the application process and special thanks to the wider Ardrossan community who attended the Our Place Large Forum events and gave their support to this application.
Now we plan to engage with the community via events, focus groups, surveys and public consultation and we are keen to speak with as many members of the community from all ages and will be having our first event very soon with details to follow.
In the meantime, if you have an idea as to what you would like to see the church building used for, please get in touch either by leaving a comment or by contacting me via the charity website http://www.ScotCPS.org.uk
Many thanks once again to all the Ardrossan residents who came along to the Our Place Large Forum, supported us and voted to fund this feasibility study.