STONEHAVEN Town Hall Trust are celebrating the news that they have, after all, secured nearly £60,000 of funding from the People’s Millions scheme.
The Trust put forward a project for a new sound system for the hall to People’s Millions, but in a head to head vote with a project from Kyleakin, Stonehaven lost out.
There was however a “best loser” award, whereby the losers in three head to head contests had their votes tallied up and the project with the most votes would receive the funding they requested.
To the delight of everyone associated with the Stonehaven bid, the Town Hall Trust project had the most votes.
Trust member Steve Holt said: “We knew about this best runner-up award, but we did not want to say anything about it in case we got people’s hopes up only for them to be dashed again.
“We received a ‘phone call at around 12.30pm last Thursday, but we were told to say nothing until it was announced on the television that evening.
“The final votes will not be revealed, but it must have been very close between ourselves as Kyleakin. The most important thing is that we are getting the grant and the work must start now to bring the project to fruition.
“We only have until December to get the work done. We hope that Aberdeenshire Council will first of all upgrade the distribution board for the electrics to allow it to cope with the extra power.
“The council have acknowledged that this needs carried out, so we must wait for them to do their bit.
“The People’s Millions award is only for the purchase and installation of the sound system and training associated with it.”
The Town Hall Trust still remains a group in waiting until they sign the lease to take over the running of the town hall. Aberdeenshire Council need to approve the trust’s business plan and it is hoped that this, plus all other legalities, will be tied up within the next year.
The members of the Town Hall Trust have elected 12 trustees to run the facility.
Previously the Stonehaven Town Partnership received a grant for new windows, painting etc, but the acquisition of the new sound system will be something tanglible for the public to see.
A new professional sound system will be a tremendous boost for the hall as community groups and performers will no longer have to bring in equipment.
Trustee Paul Furze said: “I’d like to personally thank all the people who voted for us. Without the votes and support of the community this would not have happened.
“The new sound system will have an impact on so many events at the hall. Current activities will see an immediate benefit and it will further allow the staging of additional events that would have been prohibited by cost. This is a major step forward in achieving the goal of the trust in changing the town hall into a major community asset.”
Sir Robert Smith MP congratulated the Trust on the work put into the application He said: “The Town Hall Trust is working very hard to renovate the Town Hall and I am sure the new sound system will greatly enhance the future events held in the venue.”
Nigel Don MSP said: “I would like to congratulate the Trust for all their hard work. I would also like to thank everyone who phoned in their support. The new sound system should result in more fundraising events.”
Stonehaven Folk Festival chair Charlie West said: “This is a great vote of confidence in what is being done for the town hall. The new PA and other improvements will help us tremendously over the coming years. Having the confidence that we can continue to book the best artistes and meet or exceed their technical requirements is a great feeling.”
Ian Hunter of Mearns Community Radio said: “We are thrilled to hear of the success of the Stonehaven Town Hall Trust. Congratulations to those who came up with the idea and got the community behind it. A first class sound system in the Town Hall will certainly stimulate local interest.”
Mary Sutcliffe of Act-Show-Allez added: “We are a theatre group which uses the town hall on a regular basis and it will be a real bonus to have an in-house system. Stonehaven Town Hall will now be a venue that is eminently suitable for all sorts of events and performances.”