PRESS - 19th April 2012

THE BIRKS CINEMA: BUILDING WORK SET TO GET UNDERWAY AND PROGRESS UPDATE

Since achieving its fundraising target early in 2012, the Friends of
The Birks Cinema Group is pleased to announce that refurbishment of
The Birks Cinema is set to get underway in early May to create a
modern, state-of-the-art facility. A contractor has been chosen
following a tender process and Perthshire firm Hadden Construction
Ltd, based in Aberuthven, has been selected to fully rebuild and
refurbish the building in the heart of Aberfeldy.

The contract award followed the process of securing the last piece in
the funding gap by the Big Lottery Fund at the beginning of February,
and the final go ahead following a period of due diligence by the
other principal funder, the Scottish Rural Development Programme in
early April.

Charlotte Flower, Chair of the Friends of the Birks Cinema said:
“Until now – there have been few visible signs of progress – other
than a full funding barometer on the front of the building. However,
lots has been happening albeit mostly ‘behind the scenes’. Now we are
gearing up for the refurbishment programme and this will mark another
significant milestone for the project.

“Now we have appointed the Architect’s design team and Building
Contractors the refurbishment work will start in early May and finish
in February 2013. All being well we should be open by Easter 2013.

“It is hugely exciting to see these first direct steps towards our
goal of delivering a first class state of the art facility in the
heart of Perthshire, and it would never have been possible without the
commitment and support of the local community and our extensive range
of supporters and funders.

“We will keep everyone updated regularly on progress via member news
bulletins, on our website and we will have exhibition panels on the
project in a prominent location whilst work is underway.”

Scott Hadden, Chairman of Hadden Construction commented: “As a local
contractor we are delighted to be appointed to bring The Birks Cinema
back to life and deliver what will be a fantastic facility for
Aberfeldy”.

Other developments include the appointment of Kevin Ramage, owner of
local business The Watermill, as the Project Manager for the
refurbishment project. He will be working as a volunteer,
representing the FoTBC with the building team and local architect
Robin Baker. A Finance Co-ordinator has also been appointed to ensure
that the £1.4m grant funds are efficiently managed

The Friends of the Birks Cinema Board is also holding an Extraordinary
General Meeting for all members to discuss governance and business
planning on the 30th April.

The Birks Cinema Patron is Hollywood actor Alan Cumming.

For further information go to www.birkscinemafriends.org.uk or visit
the Facebook site on http://www.facebook.com/friendsofthebirkscinema

Press photos of Charlotte Flower are available from baxter.george@gmail.com.

Additional photos, architectural plans, business plans and a 'virtual
tour' of the new facility can also be found on the website.

Media contact: 07748 446 954

Background
Local people formed the Friends of the Birks Cinema group in 2006
after the old cinema building which was built in 1939 had lain empty
for some time. The group was formally constituted as a registered
charity in 2009. A substantial breakthrough was made in the same year
when major funding was provided by the Town Centre Regeneration Fund
and others to the tune of £332,909. This allowed the purchase and
weatherproofing of the building, and the creation of the architectural
plans and development of the business case. Since then, various trusts
and funding bodies have committed funds including the SRDP award of
£658,520 in early 2011, the Scottish Hydro Griffin Wind Farm Community
Fund award of £100,000, the Creative Scotland award of £100,000, and
£224,500 sourced from a number of additional local, regional and
national funders. Direct local fundraising has contributed around
anadditional £80,000. Some individuals and businesses made donations
but did not want to be identified. The Big Lottery Fund awarded the
project £539,950 under its Growing Community Assets programme. The
award was hugely significant because it not only achieved the group's
fundraising target, but also provides some revenue support over the
first five years to give the project a substantial 'jump start'.

The FoTBC has increased its membership significantly over recent
months and it now stands at 450. Successful local events included the
Big B raffle, a ‘postcard’ auction and the Big B Concert. Sales of
sponsored seats now stands at £38,000, including £11,000 from local
distillers Dewar’s who sponsored a whole row – and there are still
seats available for sponsorship.