School to community hub shows progress

The former Eastgate School in Friockheim which now looks almost certain to become 'Friockhub'.
The former Eastgate School in Friockheim which now looks almost certain to become 'Friockhub'.

The project to convert the former Eastgate School in Friockheim into a community hub is now beginning to come together.

The Big Lottery has invited the group to apply for funding and Angus Council has agreed in principle to sell the building.

When the idea was first considered some two years ago it was taken forward by a sub-group of Friockheim Community Council, and it was this group which organised community meetings and surveys and obtained over £10,000 funding for an independent feasibility study.

The study reported in autumn of 2012 and was very positive, giving the project valuable support and information.

Following this, application was made to Angus Council under its Community Asset Transfer Policy and contact was made with the Big Lottery Scotland with regard to further grants.

In autumn of last year Friockheim Community Hub Ltd (FriockHub), was formed and the project became separate from the community council.

A spokesman explained: “We heard last December that the Big Lottery Scotland has accepted FriockHub’s stage one application and has invited it to apply for Development Funding. This is to allow us to develop a stage two application which, if successful, will offer a grant to cover 100 per cent of the building redevelopment and also some time-limited revenue funding for staff, running costs, etc.

“Angus Council has now agreed in principle to sell the building to FriockHub. Ongoing discussions are still being held with regard to the grassed area to the south of the structure.

He continued: “Angus Council and FriockHub are also working towards a short lease of a small part of the building to Friockhub from spring 2014. This will be used as a project office and be open to the community for residents to get an update on the project, express their ideas and concerns and generally discuss the project’s development.”

The spokesman stressed that Friockhub is not just another village hall. He explained: “It is intended to be a community facility which will offer services, facilities and space that the residents of Friockheim and its surrounding rural areas can use to support their various needs. These needs may be a young persons’ facility, mother and toddler group, old folks lunch club, small business spaces, leisure space for activities such as badminton and indoor bowls and social space for a village ceilidh or a family party.

“FriockHub needs to know what Friockheim residents need and want and the FriockHub office when it opens, will offer a place in the heart of the village for residents to put ideas and concerns forward. Everything will be considered.”

He continued: “As Friockhub develops, various community meetings, exhibitions and displays will be arranged and fund-raising activities of many kinds held. The next fund-raising activity will be a shopping night in the village primary school on Friday, March 7, starting at 7 p.m.

He concluded: “Friockhub wants as many residents of Friockheim and the surrounding area as possible to be involved and part of it.

“Those who want to become involved can join one of the activity sub-groups that are developing.”

Anyone interested is invited to contact Friockhub in the Eastgate office which is due to open in April.