Old Village Library, Kilbarchan

Volunteers are set to renovate the Old Library in Kilbarchan as they aim to maintain its status as a thriving community space if their plans are approved by councillors later this month.

With more than 5000 visitors using the hall every year for activities such as yoga, Pilates, Spanish lessons and amateur dramatics, the hall is key part of village life in Kilbarchan and has been for over 120 years.

Old Village Library, Kilbarchan

Kilbarchan Improvements Project would receive £22,000 to carry out repairs to the roof and top floor windows to help secure its position as heritage asset within the village and would be the first project to receive funding through the Villages Investment Fund.

£370,000 has been ringfenced from an overall £1.87million fund specifically for investment in Renfrewshire’s villages and applications must show that they will strengthen the unique identity, heritage and character of village life.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “We want to ensure our villages have the opportunity to enhance and protect their assets which is why we have committed this funding to allow them to tell us what they need and give them the opportunity to make it happen..

“We want to see more and more projects follow Kilbarchan Improvements Project lead by applying to make changes to their community and we’ll support everyone to make their application as strong as possible so please get in touch.”

Four projects have been awarded more than £13,000 under delegated authority from the wider Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund as they look to make physical and environmental improvements to their communities.

Erskine Community Garden have received £4800 install a labyrinth, plant fruit trees and create a sensory area in the garden, while the West End Growing Grounds Association have been granted £2609 to carry out grounds maintenance which allow their popular allotments to continue to flourish.

Elderslie Community Council have been awarded £1200 for dog fouling materials, including dog poo bag dispensers located across the village, and the Darkwood Crew in Ferguslie will use their £4810 award to create a community garden for the area which will be used by Falcon Day Centre and Darkwood Court Sheltered Housing Complex, subject to a successful planning application.

Terry McTernan, Darkwood Crew volunteer, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding as it will allow us to progress our plans to establish the community garden and growing area.

“We truly believe the village green has the potential to address the many social economic issues which persist in the community, such as isolation and loneliness, and this builds on the success of our recent Ferguslie Flourishes community planting project and our path improvement plan – all designed to increase usage of this beautiful space.”

Awards from the £1.87million fund will assist groups to bring in external funding, increase community participation in local areas and encourage the process of transferring assets to local communities.

Each application must show it has consulted the local community to ensure there is a need and desire for the project and that it would improve community life.

The fund is open all-year-round so for more information and to find out how to apply, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/greenspacesfund.