With the increase in numbers of young people attending the Mid Argyll Youth Project (original name) and the number of new initiatives and activities taking place we realised that the current premises had limited opportunity for future development due to the lack of outdoor space. For several years MAYDS looked at different areas for development of child and youth services that would incorporate a skate park and outdoor area and gardens. On considering this the board of directors began to look at the old Primary School in Lochgilphead in 2009 as it was up for sale and felt it would be an ideal location to meet the future needs of young people and community. With the premises and ground being of considerable size we also approached Fyne Families and Riverside Rascals Day Nursery to see if they would be interested on coming on board and leasing rooms at the bottom area of the school which was originally for P1, 2 and 3. When we contacted council estates department we were put in touch with a Mr David Logan and put in an official note of interest. On community consultation feedback was very positive as the premises was going to rack and ruin and at this time young people also suggested the development of a skate park in the front play area.
While there was some concerns on the state of the current premises our vision went far beyond this and it is the location that is very appealing. It is not to far from town but excluded enough for the young people to enjoy the outdoors without being on peoples doorsteps and the opportunities it could provide are huge in terms of sustainability of voluntary sector organisations, partnership working, employment and training, recreational activities and enhancement of local community. We also realised there may be some scope in terms of Asset Transfer, where local councils will hand over old or unused buildings to community/voluntary organisations and while they may not get the money they hoped for they are enhancing provisions within their local area.
October 21, 2011
The Mid Argyll Youth Project has put in a bid to buy the old Lochgilphead Primary School. It wants to turn the former school into a centre for ‘excellence’ for young people and a place for the whole community to enjoy. Read more about this story in the Argyllshire Advertiser archives, October 21, 2011
At one stage with a funder on board we talked to the council about an offer of £240,00 for the site which the premises was valued at by an independent estate agent. However the council stated they wanted dover £400,000 for the property which for us was unrealistic and in effect put this project to rest. The site still sits derelict and unused to this day.
Then in 2014, still seeking a location for a skate park and other outdoor pursuits, talks seemed positive with the council around Kilmory Home Farm site. The proposal for the Kilmory Home Farm development would allow for development of sporting facilities not otherwise available or limited in the local area. Facilities identified have been done so alongside young people and community and sporting groups. These include-: Wheel park, running track, base for water sports, cycle paths, etc... There was a community consultation and young people visited the site to both give their feedback and help implement design for the skate park area. The rugby club were also involved as were Lochgilphead Soccer Centre with the view to building a clubhouse and football/rugby stadium. However talks with the council broke down when they said we could neither buy the site or get it on an asset transfer as it was to be set aside for economic development.
While MAYDS had still not secured a site, consultation continued!
Since 2015 MAYDS has been part of the Mid Argyll Initiative (MAI). With support from the Chamber of Commerce MAI established a steering group of community councils and community organisations to look at renewable investments and potential developments in Mid Argyll. Being the only youth development service in Mid Argyll, MAYDS manager sat on the steering group and undertook the youth consultation element at the end of 2015. Again from the feedback more recreational facilities in particular a wheel-park was highlighted for future development.
In 2016 the local Youth Forum carried out a survey in the local schools on our behalf, feedback continued to highlighted more space for outdoor activities that did not cost a lot or require pre booking, as young people indicated that to use areas owned by the council such as football pitch etc. needed to be pre booked and were restrained financially due to the charges involved. The survey also highlighted the need for a skate-park in the area with over 80% or respondents saying this would be a much needed and utilised asset.
MAYDS began working with a small steering group of local skateboarders in 2016 after they approached the manager for support in finding an area to develop a skatepark. They knew we had a common goal as one of the young men involved had previously been engaged in drawing designs etc., for the Kilmory Home Farm Site. When that site did not progress the group got together to try and revive the skatepark project. They had been campaigning since 2015 to get a skating facility in the local area.
In consultation with these young people, it was fed back that the proposed site for the skate facility next to MAYDS youth services building (site 2) was well supported. The proposal for the wheel-park will be fully supervised, they will be access to amenities in the youth building such as toilets, tuck shop, etc.. and staff will be on hand for first aid and youth work gained more support.
The young boarders had started an online petition, which achieved over 27,000 signatures, not only from the local community but from all over the world, supporting the skate-park in the area find the petition and comments at petition: We need a skatepark in Lochgilphead in Argyll, Scotland!, United Kingdom (thepetitionsite.com), their story being taken up by the local media and the project gaining more community support, you can view newspaper article at; www.argyllshireadvertiser.co.uk/2016/11/25/8659/). They are also present with MAYDS Manager in a short film about strengthening communities in 2017, which outlines the different stages and processes to finally get to purchase land for the skatepark (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mLNFEK90RfY).The Charrette commissioned by Scottish Canals and Argyll and Bute Council in the summer of 2016 to look at development across the Mid Argyll area, again highlighted the skate-park as being high on the priority from community feedback. MAYDS was involved in this consultation, with the Manager carrying out a presentation to garner community feedback at the Pecha Kucha event held at the Cairnbaan hotel, 2016). The need for a skate facility and increased youth services was discussed, all of which was met with the agreement and backing of the community (see appendix 4.1 for the for Charrette final Action Plan), visit www.scottishcanals.co.uk/news/re-think-the-link-crinan-corridor-charrette for the full report.
It was by chance that the adjacent two sites to the MAYDS current building came up for sale and the idea to have the wheel park on site giving the added availability of youth staff and security Prior to purchase MAYDS consulted with the neighbouring properties and advised of its preferred use, they indicated their preference for the site would be MAYDS and community ownership as they have had no issues with our service in the 14 years we have been delivering form the current location and in addition with a fully supervised and secure outdoor area, they are assured the site will be managed and looked after properly.
In May 2017, MAYDS were delighted to secure a Scottish Land Fund award to purchase our current premises at 50A Union Street (Site 1) and 2 adjacent pieces of land (Site 2 and 3). Not only did this give us security for the future of children and young peoples services it also allows us to develop and expand much needed services. With the purchase of the adjacent land MAYDs can now create a safe, supervised outdoor area. This could include a wheel park facility which is high on the young peoples agenda at the moment. A supervised wheel park would mean the young people are off the roads and away from traffic and dangerous areas, as often at the moment they are skating on the main front road. Along with this we would incorporate a play area for families, an allotment area, an indoor multi sports venue that would include roller disco, climbing wall etc.
In order to secure the Scottish Land Fund for our new development, we had to clearly evidence that it was people-led. This was evident through the amount of community consultation carried out over a number of years and also large on-line petition created by the young people themselves. In December 2017 we held a large community event to celebrate the Land Fund award and to continue to engage young people and the community in the development process. As part of the land fund award, along with money to purchase the site, there was some funding to work with an architect on visuals and plans for the new outdoor area. This process included further consultation with the community and young people, including sessions at the school and MAYDS Manager giving presentations at local community councils, giving opportunity for questions and feedback.
What this process left us with was drawing and designs based on the consultation process with the outdoor area plans now having a new hall, which could house some indoor sports and more community groups and beside this a large skate park area undercover.
On working with the QS to get figures regarding the new plans and on talking with funders it seemed the plans we currently had were too ambitious with the development coming in at 1.5 million excluding VAT. At this time the funders we were talking to came to visit us at the site, their feedback was that we would have more chance of securing funding if we scaled back the design. With this in mind and after drawing up some investment strategy plans with Inspiralba MAYDS board came to the realisation that for sustainability of the new area we would have to priorities and scale back plans. At this time the priority was the outdoor area and wheel park as we already had a usable hall therefore it was agreed the multi-purpose hall, which was linked to most of the costs, would not be considered at this time. The board therefore proposed a phased approach that would allow MAYDS to continue the development in a more manageable, realistic way.
At this stage of the development MAYDS next step was to secure funding to remove the old asbestos buildings that were on site 2, next too MAYDS building. After receiving quotes and surveys regarding the buildings, it became clear there would be a significant cost for this stage, approx £25,000. A funding bid was submitted to a local wind fund farm, A'Chruach, which MAYDS was lucky enough to secure, this was only for a portion of the cost. MAYDS approached other funders for the remainder of the money needed to complete the demolition. Though MAYDS had talks with numerous funders we found it difficult to get the remainder of the funding needed to complete this phase and therefore a year later MAYDS decided to return to A'Chruach for further funding as a local funder understanding MAYDS situation and aspirations. A'Chruach once again stood by MAYDS and this time they gave us another substantial payment. Though MAYDS still needed another £5000, to reach the price quoted by the lowest tender. After discussions with local builders, they offered to do parts of the job in kind to enable MAYDS to complete the removal of the building.
Thanks to A and C Contractors, Kenneth James MacLeod and M K Roofing. The buildings were removed in August 2020.
With the impact of Covid-19 in 2020 MAYDS board refocused and a wheel park committee was formed to help the project move forward and share the tasks linked to each phase. The wheel park committee was made up of two board and staff members to push forward with the design and build process of the skate park element, identify funding and liaise further with planning, community, neighbours etc.. With much consultation carried out in the past we know what the young people want as a starting point and when we are able, young people will be engaged once more, with the intention of young people representatives joining the committee.
The committee's first task was to revaluate the priority's for both the site and the service users. As a result the plans for the site were changed a little to allow for more outdoor work in the future, through a community garden and viewing area for the wheel park. Outdoor work now being a vital service to allow MAYDS to continue to run if indoor work is unavailable to us for any reason. Next, more funding, to allow MAYDS to level and clear site 2, erect security fencing and start work on the community gardens and viewing area. Work began with SCVO on a bid to the Adapt and Thrive Fund which would allow MAYDS to do all this work but also strengthen our position and sustainability coming out of the Covid pandemic.
At the same time the committee began discussions with wheel park designers, to get costings, time lines for process, etc.. A local hairdressers - ICON donated the proceeds from their Xmas raffle 2020 towards the wheel park design.
Wheel park – potential funders, potential design & builders