During January’s meeting of Forres Community Council, Forres Area Community Trust (FACT) officer, Debbie Herron, talked about the campaign to get a local skate park built, plans for a Community Asset Transfer of the Town Hall and the ongoing digital support service, Forres Online.
She said: “We have been working to get a new skate park since 2012. With support from AJ Engineering, BAM Nuttall and Forres Tesco, we now have a pop-up ramp currently in use at The Loft in Kinloss.”
Forres Skate Park Initiative outsource the ramp by arrangement. It is hoped to set it up in Tesco car park in the Springtime.
Debbie added: “We will work with the 2020 Vision green spaces group to find a permanent spot for a skate facility over the next few years. Fundraising will begin in earnest once we have a clear plan agreed.”
FACT has approached Moray Council about a CAT of Forres Town Hall and carried out costings for major improvements including raised seating similar to that at Nairn Community and Arts Centre.
Debbie explained: “We want to have have movable raked seating to enable us to use the space as a open hall for dancing, band practice, coffee mornings etc, and to have seating for things like Film Forres, the panto and youth concert. There could be office space at the far end of the building, a studio and multipurpose area, and lifts at both ends. We estimate the upgrade would cost around £3 million in total.”
Around 4500 people currently use the Town Hall every week. FACT is scoping support for its ideas among the user groups.
It is hoped financial support could come from local fundraising, online crowd funding and organisations such as Heritage Lottery Fund, Big Lottery Fund and Big Issue Invest.
Finally, Debbie appealed for volunteers to help the FACT Forres Online scheme which already provides: free access to computers in a safe and encouraging environment; one-to-one development in customer support and engagement skills; and access to online courses to develop skills gained while volunteering.
She said: “Forres Online has recorded 610 attendances from 185 individuals/groups over the period September, 2016 to November, 2017. These include people over 55, unemployed and benefit claimants, small businesses, community groups, social enterprises, young families, vulnerable adults and refugees.”
Last year, FACT was awarded £149,427 to develop its volunteer base, as well as a social enterprise centre/hub to facilitate more partnership working in the area.
“FACT has 250 members and is free to join,” finished Debbie. “We have a strong board and a sustainable business plan. To get involved, please contact 01309 674388 or vemail firstname.lastname@example.org”