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£2.5 million plans to convert derelict church

News 24th January 2013

THE new owners of a derelict Dunfermline church have launched a community consultation as part of their plans to turn the building into a community hub.

The Yes-U-Are Partnership plan to turn the St Andrew's Erskine Church into a space for community arts, exhibitions and business, as well as weddings, concerts and conferences.

Yes-U-Are are especially keen to support the development of community arts, and plan to offer dedicated areas for painting, sculpture, fabrics and ceramics/pottery, complete with kiln.

The new venue will also have a community bistro which could be open at weekends as an alternative to pubs and clubs.

The project is expected to be completed by April 2016, with work to do up the building estimated to cost around �2.5million.

Yes-U-Are are now getting feedback from local businesses and community groups to gauge the interest in using the space, as well as partnering with Yes-U-Are to deliver programmes.

Development manager John Macdonald told the Press, "We want to offer something for community and arts activities in the middle of the town.

"There are sections of the community that are not getting included - older people who wouldn't dream of going into during the evenings or weekends, people who have not managed to get on their feet, people who have had difficulty with mental health or physical disabilities.

"It's about making facilities and resources and support available to all sections of the community.

"It will be a facility that will be run as a professional outfit.

"The building has been neglected and we're planning to fill a black hole in the town and make it something that everybody can join together in."

Yes-U-Are have already spent �12,000 to make the church's roof watertight and have started applying for Big Lottery and Heritage Lottery funding for the project.

The organisation envisions an environmentally sustainable building that has facilities to recycle rainwater, heating systems that store heat when the building gets too warm, and imitation slate solar panels.

The project is also expected to create jobs in the cafe and community development, with the number to be finalised in the business plan.

Mr Macdonald added, "We're already through the first step of the Heritage Lottery application and then we're finalising our feasibility and business plans with consultants."

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