Bowled over by new Bonnyrigg hub dream
Plans are afoot to transform the vacant Poltonhall Bowling Club into a new home for Bonnyrigg After School Club and a new hub for the town.
The after school club, currently based at Bonnyrigg Primary School, hopes to complete a community asset transfer with Midlothian Council this month to take on the building, which has been empty for more than a year, and is currently in the running to receive £50,000 to aid its plans to transform the former bowling club.
Sam Elliot, quality assurance manager at Bonnyrigg After School Club, said: “If no community organisation takes it over we would see flats there, which is a shame as it’s an ideal location. We would use it as an early years centre, but also as a kind of community centre, a hub.
“Bonnyrigg is an expanding area but there is not much community facilities for all these people. We want to have that asset for the community at a cost which allows local groups to continue. A lot are folding as they can’t afford ever increasing rents.
“We have had lots of people enquiring already, just to see if they could hire it.”
And in a move similar to Loanhead After School Club taking on the Kabin (now the Link), the Bonnyrigg plans also include a cafe. Sam said: “That is something we envisage for people to meet. We would have a play space for the kids to play while the mums have a cup of tea. We have included that in our application and it’s something we think we can achieve. Our application goes to elected members in two weeks.”
The club is in the final five in the People’s Project, looking to receive £50,000. To vote go to www.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk/projects/view/a-space-to-play. Sam added: “That’s just part of the funding needed.
“The building is currently a hut effectively. It’s got a hall and changing rooms, which gives us a bit of floor space, but we need a lot more.
“So £50,000 is a lot of money, but as early years equipment can be quite expensive, £20,000 of that would be for resources alone. The rest would make the building wind and water tight and safe.
“So we are in talks to get capital funding from the Scottish Government. To do what we want would probably cost £100,000. It’s quite a big space so there is scope to do a lot on that site.
“This is something that will bring people and jobs to the community. We are expanding our services. We can continue to offer affordable child care and a cafe would bring money in which would subsidise child care.
“The big thing is having the hub, bringing the community together and having that asset for local groups to have somewhere, to keep them going.”