COMMUNITY BENEFIT FUNDING: ENABLING ACCESSIBLE FACILITIES FOR ALL

Stranraer Millennium Centre Community Trust (The Millennium Centre) is a social enterprise set up in 1998 to develop a community centre from a former supermarket premises in Stranraer. It has 25 volunteers, 8 staff and supports a base of 174 members, as well as the wider local community, with an estimated 3,000 visits per month. The Millennium Centre provides a number of activities, including a café, Bingo nights, concerts and performances and weekly Zumba classes, archery, youth and music clubs. It is also a venue for weddings and events; is used by the DVLA as a test centre, as well as other organisations providing training; and supports a community radio station.

In 2018, The Millennium Centre was commencing a multi-million pound renovation and extension of the Community Centre into a multi-purpose space, to provide a café, commercial bar, kitchen, recording studio, rehearsal area, studio facility, training space, and lettable office space. Ensuring these new spaces were fully accessible to all was important to the Millennium Centre and conventional disabled-accessible toilet facilities don’t always achieve this. People with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well people with other physical disabilities such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis often need extra equipment and space to allow them to use the toilets safely and comfortably. The Millennium Centre wanted to create a Changing Places Facility- a nationally recognized standard for facilities of this type.

Wigtownshire and South Ayrshire community groups can access community benefit funds from the Kilgallioch Community Fund. The Fund, provided by ScottishPower Renewables, is linked to its Kilgallioch wind farm between Barrhill and Newton Stewart. A Board of volunteer residents makes decisions on awards, supported by grant-making charity Foundation Scotland.

The Millennium Centre was awarded £8,350 from the Kilgallioch Community Fund, which enabled it to install changing places equipment including a tracking hoist; grab rails; height adjustable wash hand basin; and a hydraulic bench. The work was carried out in early 2019, as part of a wider Lottery-funded refurbishment of the building, which included fit out and tiling of the Changing Places space. The Changing Places facility is now in full use, with users of the Millennium Centre now able to attend more events for longer periods of time.

More information about Stranraer Millennium Centre Community Trust can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/StranraerMillenniumCentre/?tn-str=k*F and information about Kilgallioch Community Fund can be found here: https://www.kilgallioch.co.uk