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New life for Old School Thornhill as local community takes ownership!

20 November 2019

Plans to convert the former primary school in Thornhill, Dumfries & Galloway into an centre for creative enterprise, design and community use took a big step forward last week.

‘We are thrilled to buy our ‘Old School’. It’s been exciting to see our initial idea grow and develop into a strong business model through community consultation. With support from the Scottish Land Fund, Architectural Heritage Fund and the Thornhill Community Council, we are now one step closer to securing the next chapter in the buildings history.’
OST_ Board of Trustees

The purchase of the building by Old School Thornhill (OST_) gives the green light to an ambitious plan to provide a range of facilities for business, creatives and communities across Upper Nithsdale in Dumfries and Galloway.

The acquisition of the building has been supported by The Scottish Land Fund, The Architectural Heritage Fund and Thornhill Community Council via the Mrs May Adams bequest fund.

The listed building is ideally laid out for a variety of uses including office space, hot-desking, a community kitchen, a performance venue and artists' studios.

The project has worked closely with the neighbouring Wallace Hall Academy, as part of the building will be self-managed by students.

The next step for OST_ is to appoint a Project Manager who will raise the funding to renovate the building and instigate projects with the community that will inform its future use.

‘We are delighted to hear that the Old School in Thornhill has now been acquired by, and for, the local community. Full credit to the committed group which, step by step, has progressed the project to this stage. With so much achieved on a purely voluntary basis, AHF is now pleased to be offering financial support towards the costs of a Project Manager. The project seeks to combat rural isolation through creative re-use of an historic building – we look forward to seeing it develop.’
- Jo Roberston. Scotland Support Officer, Architectural Heritage Fund

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‘Buccleuch is thrilled to have worked with the OST, and help them realise their ambitions for this community hub. The centre will provide a much-needed resource for the people of Upper Nithsdale, and we are delighted to see a new role for a building that has held such importance in the community for so long.’
Anna Fergusson. Estate Manager Queensberry Estate

'We were delighted to provide finance for this project via the Mrs May Adams bequest fund. We fully support the aims of the Old School to promote local enterprise and enrich the creative life of our area’.
- Keith Watson, Chair of Thornhill Community Council


Notes to Editors:

  • The Scottish Land Fund reopened to applications in April 2016. The programme is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership by the National Lottery Community Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, both of which have extensive experience of helping communities to acquire and develop their assets for over a decade.

  • The National Lottery Community Fund distributes lottery funding to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. It also uses its expertise in grant-giving to distribute non-Lottery funding. Full details of the National Lottery Community Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: National Lottery Community Fund Public Enquiries Line call: 0300 123 7110

  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) delivers the Scottish Government Economic Strategy across more than half of Scotland - from Shetland to Argyll and from the Hebrides to Moray. It aims to support businesses and social enterprises; strengthen communities and fragile areas; develop key sectors, and create the conditions for a competitive and low carbon region. HIE has an annual budget of more than £75m and employs around 300 people in locations around the Highlands and Islands. See more at

  • The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) helps communities across the UK find enterprising new uses for the old buildings they love.

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