Residents of Banknock have saved their community hall from certain closure by agreeing to take over the running of premises.
As other community centres and halls close in the area – Falkirk Community Trust deemed Hallglen Sports Centre no longer available to users earlier this month – Banknock Community Hall, in Kilsyth Road, has been protected for the future thanks to the work of Banknock, Haggs and Longcroft Community Council and the newly established Banknock Community Hall Management Committee.
A public meeting takes place in the hall from 2pm on Sunday to give people an update on the situation and to try and recruit trustees and members for the management committee to help maintain and upgrade the premises.
Dan Henderson, Banknock Haggs and Longcroft Community Council member, said: “It has taken us two-and-a-half years to get to this stage to be signing a 15-year lease with Falkirk Council.
“The alternative was the council shutting the hall completely and possibly using it as a storage facility. If it had closed it would have meant a number of local groups would have had nowhere to go.”
Hall users include the Nifty Fifties club, a children’s dance group and the mothers and toddlers group.
The community hall management committee, which has now secured Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation status, currently has three trustees, Councillor Jim Blackwood, Stewart McArthur and Lesley Tonner-Murphy, and can elect up top seven more.
Mr Henderson said: “Ideally we would be looking for younger members, people who could maybe set up a website and online booking for the hall. No one knows what will happen in five or ten year’s time, but if things don’t work out at least the hall will go back to Falkirk Council.
“We won’t be paying anything for the lease, but we will take on the hall’s liabilities. The big issue we have is the current condition of the hall – it just needs some TLC.
“We are very keen to get as many people as possible from the local community involved in making the decisions about the future of the hall – and improving it and maximising it’s use.”