Kirkcowan – What's Going On?

Kirkcowan Village Hall

Covid-19 and the consequent restrictions meant that the Hall was closed from March 2020 until the summer of 2021. It has since been possible to have the gradual return of limited, physically-distanced groups and bookings have been increasing as groups restart. This will continue to be guided by government advice and regulations, dependent on the spread of the coronavirus.

Who runs it?
We are a voluntary Board of Trustees who run Kirkcowan Hall as a registered charity (SC047563).  The current Board consists of a Chair (Shalla Gray), a Vice-chair (Charlie McNeill), Treasurer (Mary Harkness) and Secretary (Wendy Wood) and 11 members of the community who either represent Hall user groups or are simply interested in helping to run the Hall.  Any resident of the Parish can become a member, this gives voting rights at the AGM, but also entitles the member to reduced rates of hire.

Why do we run it?
The Board was formed in 2017 in response to Dumfries & Galloway Council’s programme to stop running village halls with public money and turn the Assets over to the Community to run themselves.  A public meeting was held, and the community of Kirkcowan was strongly in favour of taking over the Hall and running it themselves.
When we took over the Hall, it was underused, but with the hard work and effort of the Board and other volunteers, the Hall became a vibrant and well-used resource at the heart of the community.
We currently lease the Hall from the council, but have begun the Asset Transfer Process, so we will eventually own the Hall outright.

How do we run it?
Our charitable purpose is: The provision of recreational facilities, or the organisation of recreational activities, with the object of improving the conditions of life for the persons for whom the facilities or activities are primarily intended.

Our charitable aim is: To further or benefit the residents of Kirkcowan parish and the neighbourhood, without distinction of sex, sexual orientation, race or of political, religious or other opinions by associating together the said residents and the local authorities, voluntary and other organisations in a common effort to provide facilities in the interests of social welfare for recreation and leisure time occupation with the objective of improving the conditions of life for the residents

As well as the regular user groups, such as Pilates, Tai Chi, Carpet Bowls, Toddlers, Rural, Rainbows and Art Club, the Hall Board began a number of initiatives to raise the profile of the Hall and involve the whole community, by holding a yearly Open Show, and a Christmas Extravaganza (a free to attend event to thank the community for their support).  We also held regular fund-raising events such as Quiz & Curry nights, Bingo, and Craft evenings, and hope that in 2022 some of these activities will be possible again.

Private Hire
The Hall is also available for private hire – either pop into the Post Office, phone 01671 830205 during shop hours, or email Wendy on hall@kirkcowan.com to book, and to check maximum permitted numbers.

Fees for hire are:
Members & Charities: Main Hall £15 per hour; Supper Room £10 per hour
Non-members and commercial rates: Main Hall £30 per hour; Supper Room £20 per hour.
Members will not be required to provide the £50 deposit asked for from commercial bookings.

It is easy to become a member – email Wendy who will send you details. 

The Future?
Many facilities in the Hall are past their best.  The kitchen and toilets, upgraded in the 60’s and barely touched since (except for cleaning!) are particularly in need of renovation, and the heating system is inefficient and expensive to run.  Kilgallioch Community Benefit Fund paid for an architect to carry out an Options Appraisal as to how we should go about preparing the Hall for the future, and a public meeting was held to ask the Community what they wanted to see in the Hall in the future.  The Board presented the community with 4 options:

  1. Leave the whole structure as is but refurbish the interior
  2. Keep the main hall & refurbish, but demolish and rebuild the back of the building
  3. Knock down the whole thing and build new facility from scratch
  4. Leave the hall as it is, mend and make do

70% of the community and 100% of the Board were in favour of Option 2.  More detailed plans were being drawn up to begin the process.  The cost of this project were estimated to be around £900K.  The Board will apply to the Windfarm Benefit Funds to which the village are entitled, to pay for this project.  The aim is to create an amazing and modern community facility, fit for purpose now and in the future, to ensure that Kirkcowan Hall is a resource to be proud of for generations to come.