Barony Exhibition Centre - Proposal Update
Thursday 15th of November 2007 20:04
The Barony Restoration is intended to develop an existing community owned asset.

It is anticipated that the creation of a Centre of Excellence showcasing contemporary crafts will significantly enhance the current level of activity, creating a facility that will attract the critical mass of visitors required to maintain Craft Town Scotland as a financially sustainable social enterprise.
It is believed that the development will increase income generation within 5 years, with a resultant reduction in the need for long-term grant aid.

The old Barony Church is a ‘C’ listed building that requires remedial repairs in the near future. An integral part of both the visual townscape and the sense of community identity, there is a strong desire that it be brought back into use. Significant adaptations will be required to enable the building to provide the level of service envisaged. Whilst remaining sympathetic to the original external building, the redevelopment will result in a flexible, dynamic space for the future.

The building’s primary focus will be the provision of exhibition spaces, retail outlet and cafι on ground level, with the extension of an existing balcony creating an additional level, which will house workshop spaces and a small stage and auditorium area.

In addition to providing a unique venue and service for the local community, it will also support the wider craft community and the future development of North Ayrshire’s range of cultural attractions that exist within close proximity to West Kilbride.

The development of the Barony Arts Centre will provide significant outcomes. It will:
• Regenerate and secure the long term future of a community owned asset
• Provide added local economic value via the creation of 8 – 10 new jobs
• Encourage new SME’s linked to Craft & Design activities
• Encourage new business opportunities linked to tourism (retail and catering outlets).
• Continue to provide a tailored and supportive environment for crafters
• Continue and consolidate the regeneration of the town
• Increase public access to craft and design via recreational and educational routes
• Increase volunteering opportunities

The proposed development will also:
• Enable CTS to forge and strengthen greater links to formal education by working in partnership with local primary and secondary schools (for example educational workshops for local primary/secondary school pupils)
• Enable partnerships with further education colleges.
• Enable CTS to involve young people, both in terms of access to cultural activities but also in terms of improving self-esteem and increased employment opportunities via the development of new skills.
• Bring together all residents in projects that will utilise craft workshops as a way of fostering community relationships.

Beneficiaries will be:
• Unemployed people from local areas.
• The community (West Kilbride & North Ayrshire).
• The wider community (Visitors from Scotland and further a field).
• Existing local businesses.
• New business ventures – local and North Ayrshire
• Crafters – existing links with Scottish Art Colleges and craft organisations
• Volunteers from the local community and North Ayrshire

• CTS will continue to provide employment opportunities for crafters, traditionally these micro businesses have little targeted economic support. As manufacturers of labour intensive products that require high skill levels, competition from imported goods has an impact on income generation.
• Continuing support for small independent retailers - through the redevelopment of derelict retail outlets in the town they have improved the environment and attracted other businesses to the area at a time when small towns and communities have struggled to maintain their retail centres.
• CTS has been the catalyst to developing the town, improving amenities and creating employment opportunities. Capabilities in this area will be increased.
• The success has re-ignited a pride in the community and has transformed the town over recent years. By expanding CTS facilities and enabling young an elderly residents to access craft/ cultural activities together, it is hoped to spread increased civic pride and self esteem in groups not yet engaged with CTS
• CTS will continue to have a positive effect on the economic development of the town through both local people and visitors diverting some of their disposable income to West Kilbride and away from major retail outlets, which has been the national trend over the last few years.