Town Hall Trust set for battle in People’s Millions bid

FIGHTING fit: The Stonehaven Town Hall Trust is hoping residents across the Mearns pick up the phone to support the People's Millions bid.
FIGHTING fit: The Stonehaven Town Hall Trust is hoping residents across the Mearns pick up the phone to support the People's Millions bid.

STONEHAVEN Town Hall Trust (STHT) is appealing for people across the Mearns to pick up the phone and vote to help them win £60,000.

The group has been chosen as one of six finalists in the 2011 People’s Millions - a grants programme run by the Big Lottery Fund, in partnership with ITV - and will go head-to-head with another project on Monday, June 27.

Whichever project polls the most telephone votes will be awarded the money - but the number is only released on the day, with people being able to vote between 9am and midnight.

If the Trust is sucessful it will use the money to install a new sound system in the Town Hall, which it says will allow the community to hold more events and raise funds for further restoration work, and have named the bid Give Our Community a Voice.

The group’s competitor on the day is the Kyleakin Connections Advance project, based near Kyle of Lochalsh on the west coast, which aims to improve the lives of people with disabilities by refurbishing the Kyleakin Connections building to make the layout more useable, providing a dedicated ICT room, remodelling the kitchen and developing the outdoor space to include a decked area and raised vegetable beds.

Chris Stirk, of STHT, said: “There are around 14,000 people in Stonehaven, 40,000 across the Mearns, and each of them can vote 10 times on the same phone - if you’ve got a work phone, home phone and mobile, then you can phone 30 times!

“We need people to put the number on their Facebook, Twitter - you name it. We are also looking for volunteers to help us spread the word on the day, to post the number through letterboxes and things - the more people we get involved, the better. We’d like to hear from anybody who has any ideas of the best way to get the number out there.

“We need volunteers for all over the place, not just in Stonehaven - Johnshaven, Bervie, St Cyrus, Portlethen. This is the Town Hall for the whole of the Mearns area.”

Residents can also sign up on the Trust’s website to be notified of the number by either email or text on the day.

Chris added: “If we had our own sound system it would mean that nobody had to hire stuff in anymore and everyone could raise more funds. It would just be a lot easier and we would be able to put on more shows.

“It would mean we could also put on more than one show in a day and a lot of the older people in the town have said they would prefer matinees, so it would benefit everyone.

“The next thing we need to do after the sound system, is the lighting, heating and kitchens.”

Councillor Graeme Clark said: “I certainly welcome this appeal to the People’s Millions and I’m sure that people in the town and round about will join in and hopefully Stonehaven will be up there when it comes to the decision making. There is a great affection for the Town Hall in Stonehaven – a lot of people will have been to various functions there throughout their lives.

“It is great to hear the enthusiasm the Town Hall trustees have for the building and if we can get some money, either from the People’s Millions or wherever, it will certainly help refurbish it.”

Stonehaven and District Community Council chairman David Fleming said: “It is a wonderful initiative and I encourage everybody to contact all their friends and get them to vote too, on Monday, June 27!”

A short video about the Town Hall project and the competing project will be shown on the STV North news between 6.00pm and 6.30pm on June 27.

The People’s Millions has been held every year since 2005. To date a total of 463 awards worth over £24.5 million have been given out.

This year a total of £3.6 million is available to give out, which is expected to be divided between 60 projects.

Calls to the People’s Millions will cost 10p per call from BT landlines. Calls from other networks may be higher and from mobiles will considerably more. No profits are made by ITV or the Big Lottery Fund from your calls.

For more information and to register your support visit www.stonehaventownhall.org.uk