The community hall within Bridge of Orchy had fallen into a bad state of repair and by 2015 was virtually unusable. It meant that Bridge of Orchy , a remote village north east of Loch Awe in Argyll and Bute, had no public space, along with no school and very difficult to access services.
The community recognised that there was a particular problem with isolation and loneliness and decided that it must help itself to overcome its difficulties and that the first step would be to provide a community hub in a safe public space.
Following a number of meetings to gauge community support for an extensive refurbishment of the village hall, and encouraged by the results, the hall trustees set about a major fund raising effort. Professional advice indicated that the building had significantly deteriorated and required structural works as well as new internal walls. The plan called for new windows, insulation, heating, toilets, accessibility and kitchen to bring the building up to a modern “passive” standard structure. In total, by the end of the project, £200,000 had been raised. Although the breakthrough came with funding from the Scottish Government, almost half the sum was most generously donated by a wide number of funders, the community were particularly indebted to GreenPower (via the Carraig Gheal Community Benefit Fund), their largest independent funder.
The primary aim was to promote education, recreation and centralise simple services. Once again all the goals have been met and the hall, which was first opened in 1960, has again become the centre of the community and is well used with a varied programme of events planned for all ages and abilities. Although the hall cannot claim responsibility, the number of people living in the community is now over 60 and more importantly includes 14 children. The official opening of the hall will take place in 2018.
The refurbishment of Bridge of Orchy Hall is a superb example of the many local projects that the Carraig Gheal Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund has helped.