Opened in 1874 to celebrate the conferring of Burgh status on the town, Dunoon Burgh Hall provided the local community with a public hall, municipal offices, and the first theatre in Argyll. From hosting public dances to council meetings, the Category B-listed building has had many uses over the last 150 years.
In the early 2000s, when it was at risk of being demolished, the community came together to rescue and take ownership of the hall. An initial phase of urgent repairs was undertaken in 2009, allowing the building to reopen for community use. Following on from this, additional refurbishment works began to bring vacant space back into action and create a multi-functional arts hub.
The Architectural Heritage Fund has supported the project to transform Dunoon Burgh Hall since 2010, initially through an Historic Environment Scotland (HES) supported Project Development Grant of £23,000. This was later followed by a loan investment of £175,000, which provided working capital, along with additional funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Creative Scotland, and HES, towards the £3.5m refurbishment – this includes the delivery of enhanced facilities, such as an improved café/bar and new office accommodation. More recently, Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust have also been receiving help from Replan, the AHF’s post-investment capacity-building programme, towards business planning and outreach.
Through the restoration of the building, Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust have created a thriving community arts hub, offering a range of cultural and community activities, as well as an exhibition gallery and popular café. Over the last two years, the Trust have been able to continue delivering a varied and diverse programme of activities and events, as restrictions allowed, and have consequently been able to repay their AHF loan investment. These funds can now be recycled to support more Scottish projects in achieving the same fantastic community-led regeneration and success as the Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust.
For more information, please visit Dunoon Burgh Hall.