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February 9, 2011

Revitalising the hub of community life

Village halls play such a crucial part in community life and yet so many are at risk of falling into serious disrepair.  SCVO estimates that more than two thirds are over 50 years old and in need of refurbishment to make them ‘fit for purpose.’   The community who use the historic Munlochy Hall in the Black Isle have cause to celebrate.  Built in the 1800’s and under community ownership since 1970, the Hall is about to benefit from some 21st century adaptation

The Press and Journal

A HISTORIC Black Isle hall, built in the late 1800s, is to have 21st-century improvements, after being awarded more than £72,500 in funding.

Munlochy Hall hopes to instal a new bio-mass boiler and low-energy lighting in an attempt to reduce the premises’ carbon emissions and heating costs.

The management committee has been given £54,073 from the European Community Highland Leader programme and £12,500 from the Scottish Government’s Community and Renew- able Energy Scheme (Cares). It has also received a contribution of £6,000 from the Highland Council’s Black Isle ward discretionary fund.

Munlochy Hall was bought by the local community in 1970 and has been a very popular venue. It is used by many local clubs, and also groups from further afield, the local primary school and pre-school, for a range of fundraising, social and sport activities.

Dave Cran, chairman of the hall committee, said: “This is an important step in maintaining the hall to the standards that the local community would now expect. “Munlochy Hall has served many generations and, by keeping the hall up to date and more efficient, it should continue to do so for many more years to come. It is only by receiving funding from the Highland Leader Programme and Cares and the Highland Council’s Black Isle ward fund that this work is possible.”

Councillor Isobel McCallum, who chairs the Greening the Black Isle Community Energy Group, said: “Munlochy Hall is a lovely old building. The hall committee has worked very hard to bring about this improvement project which will yield long-term savings in the heating bills for the hall. The hall committee is an able group and the community as a whole will enjoy the benefits both in terms of warmth and savings. It has been a pleasure working closely with Munlochy hall committee and the other Black Isle community facilities groups.”

Hall committee member Terry Johnston said: “We are delighted the hard work has paid off. It is a very busy hall and it is used by the pre-school nursery, the local primary, youth club, country dancing, badminton and table tennis clubs, to name but a few.”