Latest Rothesay Pavilion news from Nick Merriman

Nick Merriman chairs the Rothesay Pavilion Charity.
Nick Merriman chairs the Rothesay Pavilion Charity.

Nick Merriman, chair of the Rothesay Pavilion Charity, shares his latest monthly update on the building’s refurbishment project with readers of The Buteman...

Things continue to gather pace for the Pavilion project: we are making further progress with raising the remaining ten per cent of the funds needed, submitting bids to several bodies including the Wolfson Foundation, the Foyle Foundation and the Headley Trust, and we have developed a detailed fundraising strategy for the next two years.

Essentially, we are focusing on applications to trusts and foundations in the first instance, as they have a predictable process and can often yield significant sums.

We will also begin approaching individuals who may be able to help financially or in kind, and towards the end we will most likely make a public appeal where, for example, people might be able to sponsor seats in the main hall.

A design team has been appointed for the project, consisting of Elder & Cannon, the Glasgow-based architects who worked on the initial design proposals; Arup, as engineers for both the structural and mechanical and electrical elements; and Gardiner & Theobald, as quantity surveyors.

We have already met them to discuss the detailed specification of the different spaces.

This is a crucial part of the project: ‘room data sheets’ for each space go down to the details of how many lights are needed and, crucially, where the plug sockets and data points are to go. Experience shows that if you don’t pay close attention to these issues at this stage, you regret it later!

We have developed a detailed operational plan for the next few months, which includes things like finalizing the lease and partnership agreement with the council, developing a process to recruit an engagement officer with HLF funding, working on the programme for the end of season weekend on September 25, 26 and 27, thinking about what equipment we might need to retain once the Pavilion closes, setting up a trading company for the shop and the café, developing a project blog, and thinking about issues like where our staff will sit before we open the building, and what the brief for a café provider will be.

Just a reminder, finally, of what all of this activity will achieve. The Pavilion will be completely refurbished, and transformed into a hub for cultural and community use through:

* A year-round programme of changing exhibitions ranging from international artists to local history in a purpose designed exhibition area;

* A shop selling local products;

* A café/restaurant selling affordable food and drink;

* A revamped main hall which will accommodate a range of events including music, theatre, dance, sports, weddings and various community uses from yoga classes to flower shows;

* A second venue which will be a more intimate space for smaller performances of music and comedy. It will be programmed by and for young people and give them space to socialise, play and rehearse music and generally ‘hang out’;

* A new top floor which will provide a meeting/function room with fantastic views as well as offices which will be let out to up to six local businesses;

When the charity takes over the running of the building from the council it will employ 12.5 staff, and crucially will be actively programmed for the first time by a dedicated director, and an engagement officer who will work with schools, local community and volunteers.

A detailed business plan has been subject to close scrutiny by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, who are satisfied that its implementation will achieve a sustainable future for the Pavilion.

Overall, the business plan forecasts that the new Pavilion will attract 85,000 visits per annum to the various activities that will be on offer. This represents an increase of more than three hundred per cent from 25,000 visitors at present.

* Have you got a question for Nick about the Pavilion regeneration project? You can find out more by Tweeting @rothesaypavilio (note, that’s not a typo: there’s no N at the end of the name) or via the ‘Rothesay Pavilion Charity’ page on Facebook.