Community Shares Launch 16th June 2018 - Nearly There!!

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Three years ago, Oban’s former Rockfield school teetered on the brink of demolition. The community came out in force to stop this happening and now, it’s within a midge’s whisker of being transformed into a bright, modern, cultural community hub.

Oban Communities Trust (OCT) was formed in 2015 and took ownership of the building. Volunteer groups immediately set to work to eradicate wet and dry rot and save the building. Since then the team has raised nearly £2 million towards re-furbishment of what is now known as The Rockfield Centre.

Extensive community consultation identified four core themes for the building’s use -

1 Arts and Culture

2 History and Heritage

3 Enterprise and Education

4 Community Wellbeing

Taking the wishes of the community to the forefront of planning, OCT sourced funds to begin activities within all these sectors from the community huts in the Centre grounds. 

Since taking ownership in May 2015, 23,402 people have attended events and activities at The Rockfield Centre, volunteers have donated 10,767 hours of their time, and the centre has hosted 31 public heritage events, 58 public arts events and 32 creative workshops and enabled  22 additional groups and enterprise per month to make use of this new resource. In addition, local trades have donated over £127,000 of services in kind to support the project.

Already a thriving part of the community

Activities at the Centre already include Blether Sessions, a Camera Club, a Friendship Club, kids activities and open mic nights, Scratch Choir and music sessions, yoga and Mindfulness, a community charity shop, heritage events, exhibitions, workshops, art and sewing classes to name but a few of  the things that go on. The huts provide light and welcoming meeting places for general hire as well as a space to be active and socialise. Volunteers are a vital component of the project  which amongs other activity has developed a heritage walking trail, a children’s play map of Oban and archive  recordings of various Oban histories.

When the main building is refurbished, it will offer

- An inclusive, friendly community hub with a creative buzz  - a place to enjoy, meet, create, and get involved in your community

– A canteen, free wifi, local arts and crafts,  a gallery & shop A place for drop in, chat, catch up, or a quiet corner to relax in

- All-weather heritage exhibitions, all age activities & messy space

- Family history research space, exhibits and memories from the past

- Space to be creative  - Arts & music workshops, exhibitions & live performances

- A place for small business to share workspaces, be creative and grow new ideas.

- Training opportunities and working in partnership with Argyll College and UHI

- A space to support ‘well being’ for all

- A Community Charity Shop   -  

- A venue that opens doors to help young and old to learn, enjoy and be part off for many generations to come. 

The aim is to create a centre of excellence for Oban and its communities – that will be a magnet of attraction for both locals and visitors alike. With a focus on wet weather facilities and the variety of things to do, The Rockfield Centre will play a pivotal part in attracting and keeping visitors in the town and will an essential part of marketing Oban as a destination

The centre will work in association with other tourist attractions forming networking partnerships and play a significant part in boosting the local economy through increased spend in the area and, importantly, the accommodation sectors.

This project will make a difference to the lives of many in our community and support both young and old to be active and involved in their Centre.

The cost to re-furbish the school will be £3million pounds. With  a funding package in place and £2 million already committed we are now on the final push to raise reach the target needed.

How will the final amount be raised?

A community share offer is being launched on June 16 2018 which will give everyone the opportunity  to invest in the future of The Rockfield Centre. If successful, the timeline will then see re-furbishment start in December with the centre opening for business in 2020.

Gordon McNab, chairman of OCT explained: ‘We have already secured the bulk of the money from grants. We are so near the finish line - we only need to raise the last £500,000 from our community share offer to get the centre refurbished and the lights on.’

Since 2009, almost 120,000 people have invested over £100m in community share offers to support 350 community businesses throughout the UK. 

Gordon went on to say ‘Community shares are a social investment which is really special - as well as supporting your community, you will be eligible for a return on your investment, possible tax benefits and the chance to get your money back at some future time. ‘

‘Our shares will be priced at £50 each with a minimum purchase of £250 – so a family could buy five lots of £50. Each shareholder will have one vote only – so it doesn’t matter if you buy one or a thousand shares– you will still have one vote which keeps everyone the same. And for those who want to buy in but £250 is too much there will be other ways in which to come onboard and still be part of the centre.’

‘Community shares are about what you, your family or business will get from The Rockfield Centre as well as the benefits the centre will bring to Oban and the wider area. As well as the social benefits there is a strong economic benefit to everyone in the area – more destination activities in Oban will mean more visitors staying and spending in our town, filling bed spaces, food outlets and other visitor attractions. It’s a win-win all round.’

How you can help

To find out more about how to invest in the future of your community, visit www.therockfieldcentre.org.uk or come into The Rockfield Centre community huts or contact Caroline on caroline@therockfieldcentre.org.uk Tel 07483 308 142. 

Together our community can make this happen!

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What are community shares??

Oban Communities Trust has set itself up as a Community Benefit Society which means it can issue ‘withdrawable shares’. Community shares are a unique form of social investment - all about supporting the social purpose of a community project. Community Shares cannot be transferred but can be withdrawn in the future.The value of the shares is fixed but Oban Communities Trust aims to pay interest on your investment after three years and gain assurance in advance from HMRC that investors will be able to apply for tax relief too. It’s a win, win situation.’

Why would I invest?

Being part of the funding process will give you, your family or business ownership and a vested interest in The Rockfield Centre. For accommodation providers it will be a jewel in Oban’s crown to keep visitors here for longer and extend the season even longer. What could be better than owning a piece of Oban’s history that educated generations of our townsfolk in the past and is set to serve future generations to come?

Where?

From June 16th you can buy shares at the Rockfield Centre itself or online at our CROWDFUNDING WEBSITE via the link www.therockfieldcentre.org.uk

Shares are £50 each with a minimum investment of £250.

 

Lyn Connelly