• About #connectingscotland

    Connecting Scotland is a Scottish Government  programme set up in response to Coronavirus. It is a partnership with the Scottish Government, Local Councils, and SCVO.  It is also supported by a range of  other organisations from around Scotland and the UK.

    Getting online will help people access the support and services they need. As well as helping them to keep in touch with friends & family. In order to help get people online they are supplying Ipads, Chromebooks and Internet Dongles along with help and support people to develop digital skills. They are mainly targeting those that are:

    • Digitally excluded – Those that do not have the appropriate device/connectivity at home.
    • On low incomes – Those that cannot afford to purchase a device and or pay for internet access at home.
    • At risk of isolation due to coronavirus – Those that are vulnerable (shielding) or higher risk of severe illness.

    Forres Online via Moray Council  has been allocated a number of devices/connectivity and will be providing ongoing support.  If you know of someone who falls into the category above and would benefit from this programme, then please get in touch with  Janice Cooper Forres Online Project Coordinator 01309 674388 or email janice@forresarea.org

    Forres Rotary’s Citizen of the Year

    Debbie Herron

    Congratulations to Debbie Herron on being chosen as Forres Rotary’s Citizen of the Year.

    Debbie is the lead development officer with Forres Area Community Trust (FACT). Among other ventures they have taken over the responsibility for running the Town Hall.

    We are sure you will agree that Debbie is a very worthy winner as she has done so much for Forres in a very unassuming way.

    Big Donation to Moray Food Plus

    A big thank you to Kathleen McGookin and her colleagues from Johnston’s of Elgin for a huge donation to Moray Food plus.

    Kathleen & friends made face masks and asked for donations. The cash generated has turned into this massive food donation!

    Well done to everyone involved!  

    Local Info and Food Deliveries

    Forres Local have compiled a list of useful information about how COVID19 is effecting Forres and the surrounding area. They have info such as:

    • Recent news.
    • Which local businesses are still open for business.
    • Which local businesses are offering food deliveries.
    • Contact information about various support groups.
    • and Advice about the lock-down.

    Visit: forreslocal.com

    An update from the FACT team

    Following on from an intensive briefing day last Friday we hope to have the  volunteer telephone befriending programme up and running by Friday this week. We can help with signposting to services that can help you  if you are in need.  This is a work in progress and will develop over the coming weeks as we understand the impact of the pandemic on our community.

    Please keep in touch through social media or by calling us on 01309 674 388 and leaving a message. We will get back to you as soon as we can.

    Important News (Regarding Covid 19)

    Following on from the current advice given by the Scottish Government and NHS, Forres Area Community Trust (FACT) have reviewed how we can respond to the current Coronavirus situation.

    The FACT team  still remain open for business but our approach is changing.

    You may find the following information useful.

    1. As a social space Forres Town Hall will be closed for the foreseeable future (at least until the 13th April when we will review the situation and make decisions about our next steps).
    1. FACT is preparing an action plan for ensuring that people can still access Forres Online and the Cameron Project (befriending) through the telephone or online. More information will be posted online and as posters around the area as we confirm the detail. Please follow us on Twitter @Forres_Area, Facebook – Forres Area Community Trust  or Forres Town Hall or check out our website – forresarea.org to keep up to date with our news and the changing situation.
    1. FACT staff will be working from home and can still be contacted by email through info@forresarea.org or by leaving a message on 01309 674 388. You can also drop a note through the Town Hall door or write to us at Forres Town Hall, High Street, Forres IV36 1PB. We will aim to get back to you within 24 hours.
    1. Requests for Food Parcels can be made direct to Moray Food Plus on 01343 208 293 or email request@morayfoodplus.org.uk  and food donations can be made to the Co-op, Forres High Street.
    1. We are planning a co-ordinated approach to supporting those most isolated and vulnerable. This will include opportunities for a telephone befriending system and we are looking for volunteers to help. If you are interested in helping out please contact Kirsty at kirsty@forresarea.org for more detail.

    We are still here and happy to help however we can under the current climate.

    For more information:

    Town Hall Project Officer

    Following its acquisition of Forres Town Hall from Moray Council via a Community Asset Transfer and with grant support from the Scottish Land Fund, Forres Area Community Trust (FACT) is seeking a Project Officer to work on the development of Stage 1 of the £2 – £3m Town Hall Regeneration Project. This will secure the future of this significant Category B Listed Building as a multi-purpose hub for the local community.

    The appointment of the Project Officer will be from April 2020 until the end of March 2021, during which time the project will be developed up to Planning Permission / Listed Building Consent stage. The role will involve 30 hours per week at a salary of £20,826 per annum.

    For more information view the attached Job Description & Application Form.

    A First For Forres Area Community Trust

    A bid to buy Forres Town Hall and turn it into a venue for community, business and training events has been successful in the latest round of grant applications to the Scottish Land Fund.

    Forres Area Community Trust has been awarded £116,365 to purchase the hall, which has been a feature of the town’s High Street since 1829, in order to provide community facilities, meeting rooms, study and workshop areas, training facilities and co-working hot desks.

    Debbie Herron, Development Manager Forres Area Community Trust, said:

    “We are delighted at the news that Forres Area Community Trust has been awarded the SLF funding to buy Forres Town Hall on behalf of the community. This endorsement of our work means that we can continue to work to support the development and resilience of our community into the future.” 

    Securing the Town Hall into community ownership and having the support of the Scottish Land Fund is the first step in redeveloping and refurbishing the building for the benefit of the community.

    Fabio Villani Chair of Forres Area Community Trust said:

    “The Scottish Land Fund’s generous support enables us to purchase Forres Town Hall as well as to further develop our plans for its future. It marks an important milestone in the history of Forres, as one more key element of the town’s heritage is fully returned to the direct care of the local community. It also marks an important milestone in the development of FACT as a key organisation in helping the people of Forres make the most of the Town’s many assets. ”

    If anyone would like any further information, please do get in touch on 01309 674388, info@forresarea.org or pop into the office between 10am and 1pm through the week.

    Community group celebrates first anniversary running Moray town hall by submitting bid to own it

    by David MacKay, Press & Journal

    Picture: L2R – Vicky Flood (Community Development Worker), Kirsty Williams (older Persons Project Co-ordinator), Janice Cooper (Forres On-line Co-ordinator), Kirtsy-Ann Wilson (graduate Marketing), Rory Dutton (Tenant Co-Worker) and front – Debbie Herron (Development Manager) Picture by JASON HEDGES

    A community group has submitted a bid to take over a cherished Moray landmark and bring it back to life.

    Today is the first anniversary of Forres Area Community Trust (Fact) signing a lease to prevent the local town hall closing.

    Now the charity is aiming to take over the ownership of the Victorian building, which has been a gathering point for generations, as well.

    Today new art gallery will be opened in the hall during a party to celebrate the landmark, which dates back to the 1850s.

    Annual Hogmanay bashes have been revived at the hall for the first time since the 1960s and the town centre venue is also now fully booked for Saturday coffee mornings until the end of next year.

    Debbie Herron, Fact’s development manager, wants to preserve the building’s strong links with the community.

    She said: “During the last year we’ve had a few people come in who have met their husbands and wives here – it used to be very popular with a lot of evening dances.

    “The social history of the building is really important. We knew it was important to the community but I didn’t realise how much until this year.”

    Forres Town Hall faced closure with similar venues last year due to budget cuts from Moray Council. Fact has applied to the authority for ownership of the hall to be transferred to them.

    Meetings have been set up between Fact, other groups who have taken on their own community facilities and council staff so they can learn from what each other is doing.

    The group has drawn up plans for a £1.9million refurbishment of the Forres hall to build on the success of film screenings in the venue with tiered seating and more gallery and office space.

    Mrs Herron added: “The biggest challenge for us at the moment is the condition of the building.

    “It’s nearly 200 years old now. The roof leaks in places, it’s safe but it’s just another thing that needs repaired.

    “Ultimately we want to completely refurbish the entire hall over the next five years. It doesn’t make best use of space at the moment so there’s a lot of untapped potential.”

    The celebration at Forres Town Hall today will run from 4pm to 6pm with regular users of the venue present to provide information about what they do.