Funding success aids Bonnyrigg hub dream

Pic Lisa Ferguson  08/04/2109'''Sam Elliot  of Bonnyrigg After School Club at  the former Poltonhall Bowling Club.
Pic Lisa Ferguson 08/04/2109'''Sam Elliot of Bonnyrigg After School Club at the former Poltonhall Bowling Club.

Bonnyrigg After School Club is celebrating after it came top of the STV Appeal’s public vote and was awarded £50,000 to open a new base.

This clears the first hurdle for Bonnyrigg After School Club (BASC) in its attempt to take on a vacant Midlothian Council building in the town and turn it into a community hub.

The money will go towards the restoration of Poltonhall Bowling Club, which it hopes to take over from the council, with a decision due in the coming weeks.

Three of the five STV Appeal applications were successful, with BASC topping the contest with 1500 votes.

Sam Elliot from BASC, thanked the community for its support in the funding bid.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted. It’s fantastic. More so the amount of people that supported us and voted. Everyone was on board, supporting the project.

“£50,000 can do a lot but when you are doing a big build it doesn’t go far. But it will turn the building into an early years nursery.

“Fundraising continues. We are going to have to keep going for other sources for more funding. There is the expansion of early years hours which will impact on that. The Early Years Expansion Fund is something we will apply for, which will allow us to do a lot more.

“We have currently got 500 families that use us per week. But we also want to support the community with facilities like our planned cafe. And we can do a lot more up there.”

The after school club is now waiting to learn if its community asset transfer of the building from the council has been successful.

Sam is keen to get to work on the old bowling club, as soon as the council gives the go ahead. He said: “There is a lot going on at the council just now, so it can be quite challenging getting a hold of officers. They said before it would be April 24 that the decision would be made. But we don’t know for sure.

“I’m hopeful it’s April/ May. As we don’t want the building sitting there empty. We want to get to work.”

BASC currently has five services across Bonnyrigg – at Bonnyrigg Primary, Burnbrae Primary, Lasswade Primary, Waverley Pavilion, as well as a nursery at Poltonhall Recreational Ground.

Sam added: “This would be an additional service. Poltonhall would be our sixth base. Everytime there is a new school or facilities we are pushed to provide more child care.

“We are not for profit. So we just want to provide more care for the community.”