Local community group Friends of the Birks Cinema can today confirm that a major award has been made by the Big Lottery Fund to help create a modern state-of-the-art cinema in Aberfeldy in the heart of Highland Perthshire. The award is hugely significant because it not only achieves the group's fundraising target, but will also provide some revenue support over the first five years to give the project a substantial 'jump start'.
The award was made under the Big Lottery Fund's Growing Community Assets programme, and totals £539,950.
Charlotte Flower, Chair of the Friends of the Birks group said: "I am delighted to confirm this wonderful news. I can't express just how excited we are to have gained such an award and recognition from the Big Lottery Fund. They have been fantastic to deal with and now we can take big steps forward to get the project up and running.
“Discussions are ongoing with the Scottish Rural Development Programmeon the project overall and it will take a few weeks to complete due diligence on the whole package - but now that we are able to confirm the Big Lottery Fund award we are very confident. It helps us go beyond our basic funding target, and it provides a jump start to establish the cinema as one of Highland Perthshire's 'must visit' attractions.
"We wouldn't have made it this far were it not for the encouragement and support we have received from far and wide. The big grants and major funds from the SRDP, the Scottish Hydro Griffin Windfarm Community Fund and Creative Scotland have been crucially important, but the campaign has been about more than just large amounts of money. Some of the most amazing efforts have come from individuals locally. From the child who popped in to an Open Doors day to donate their pocket money the other week, to the local distillery which has sponsored a row of seats; and local people spending £4000 in one evening at our postcard auction or attending the packed out 'Big B' concert - every single act of kindness, support and generosity is equally important and very much appreciated.
“When due diligence is completed and assuming we get the final green light, we will then be in a position to mark the completion of the fundraising phase, arrange a BIG thank you event for everyone who has helped and then get on with it."
Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, said: “The Big Lottery Fund is delighted to be able to support this exciting local project, which has enormous potential to build on the wave of local enthusiasm and create a real community-owned asset in the heart of Aberfeldy.
“The Friends of Birks Cinema have demonstrated enormous local backing for their project which will not only return the building to its original use, but in doing so will provide jobs and volunteering opportunities for local people.”
A period of due diligence will now be continued by the Scottish Rural Development Programme fund and a formal announcement will be made in due course on next steps.
Notes to editors
Media interviews and photo-opportunities will be available at 11am at the Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy on Thursday February 9th. Media contact for FOBC: 07748 446 954
The Big Lottery Fund Scotland Press Office can be contacted on: 0141 242 1458 or 07789 033457
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 an additional £80,000. Some individuals and businesses made donations but did not want to be identified.
The FoBC 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 distillersDewar’s who sponsored a whole row – and there are still seats available for sponsorship.
The Birks Cinema Patron is Hollywood actor Alan Cumming.
The build programme, pending final approval by the SRDP, is intended to start in April with completion of the project ready to open doors to the public in April 2013.
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 email@example.com.
Additional photos, architectural plans, business plans and a 'virtual tour' of the new facility can also be found on the http://birkscinema.co.uk/ website