New Storehouse funding bid set to open doors

Roger Kelly at The Storehouse.
Roger Kelly at The Storehouse.

The Penicuik Storehouse project has applied for £350,000 of funding to buy the former Co-op building it occupies.

The business community scheme has nearly run out of the £250,000 it raised in two years despite not yet opening the planned multi-use store on Penicuik High Street.

Now, with a new committee in place, the project has vowed to fight on and hopes that this potential new funding will see the dream of opening the store become a reality.

Roger Kelly, director, told the Advertiser that an application has been submitted to the Scottish Land Fund – and he is optimistic it will be successful.

He said: “I was hoping we would be trading now, but with the steps we are taking we will be opening ourselves up to investments.

“If we have our own building it puts us on a lot better footing.

“We are moving forward as fast as we can with a view to buying the property. It’s going to take weeks or months but we are on our way. I think we will hear possibly in the New Year, maybe just before Christmas, if we have been successful.

“It would be a lovely Christmas present.

“We are getting good feedback along the way, and a good deal of assistance.

“It’s not a long shot, we will have plan B if these things don’t go ahead, but we feel quite confident we will get the backing we need to purchase the building.”

While admitting the project has been a “long slog” Roger highlighted the positive knock-on effect the Storehouse has had locally.

“Projects like this do take a lot of time or money and very often both, and this is a long slog.

“We are very close to having premises that are open and contributing to life in central Penicuik,” he said.

“It’s disappointing we are not open yet, but we have started other improvements.

“It’s about the bigger project – things like the Penicuik Conservation Area and Penicuik First.

“We have made mistakes and we will learn from them.

“We have had to let staff go in the meantime. Some will be able to come back, we just had to cut our outgoings to the bone to keep things going.”

Roger admitted that due to not opening as planned the project has lost the initial funding it received from the Social Innovation Fund, but hopes to be in the running with future bids to that fund.