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Rothesay Pavilion: 750,000 reasons to be cheeerful

20 January 2015

Traditionally Christmas is the time to give gifts but the people of Bute and Rothesay Pavilion Charity are celebrating Highlands and Islands Enterprise decision to make a £750,000 investment towards the £8 million refurbishment and redevelopment of Rothesay Pavilion.

The project, which is being led by Argyll and Bute Council, will ensure that this significant modernist building is converted into a 21st century arts, cultural, sports and community venue. The Pavilion lies at the heart of the Bute community and has the potential to be a significant catalyst for regeneration and change on the island of Bute, creating jobs, improving the town environment and providing cultural and educational opportunities for locals and visitors alike.

The development will create four separate spaces: a main hall capable of seating up to 750 people; a self contained venue with around 250 seats; a flexible exhibition space and a unique glazed top floor with spectacular views for weddings and other events. There will also be a café, shop, office spaces for rent, and a separate building for holiday lets in summer and artist in residence programmes at other times.

In the tourist season the Pavilion will play host to national and international music, comedy, theatre and dance acts, as well as showing major exhibitions of history, photography and visual arts.  The second space will be programmed by and for younger people, with local bands, DJs and comedians. In the off-season the building will have more of a community focus; and community sports and well-being activities will run in parallel all year round.

Rothesay Pavilion Charity is the organisation that will ultimately manage and operate the Pavilion once it reopens. A Board of eleven Directors has been formed, all with strong connections to Bute. The Chair of the Board is Dr Nick Merriman who owns a home on Bute and is Director of Manchester Museum.

The Rothesay Pavilion Charity has already appointed Stuart Thomas as Development Officer (also funded by HIE) to support the Board in setting up the organisation which will programme and operates the venue.

Nick Merriman said: ‘This award is fantastic news. We are almost at the stage where all of the funding has been raised for the project, so we hope that soon the Council will be able to formally approve the commencement of the building refurbishment. The Pavilion is a fantastic asset, and the Charity is very much looking forward to taking over its operation after it is given a major makeover’.

HIE Area Manager Douglas Cowan, commented: “Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is delighted to support the redevelopment of this iconic building in partnership with Argyll and Bute Council. This project will ensure the sustainable use of an important building in the centre of Rothesay, amplifying the Pavilion’s role as a focal point for cultural activities for the community.  HIE will continue to work with Rothesay Pavilion Charity to deliver the robust and sustainable business model, maximising the social and economic benefits from the redeveloped venue.”

The Provost of Argyll and Bute, Bute-based Councillor Len Scoullar, said of the HIE funding: ''I warmly welcome this news and HIE's continued support of this project to regenerate this iconic structure. This is a significant step forward; it's great to see things taking shape. This is a critical time for the project with a number of funding bids due to be decided, hopefully in our favour, and then we can look forward to developing a business case and the construction work starting. Should the money be in place the building is due to close in the autumn, with the fixtures and fittings being removed and work starting early in 2016.''

Leader of the council, Councillor Dick Walsh, said: ''This is great news for the project and the people of Bute. Should the further funding be secured the enhanced pavilion will become a hub for culture, tourism and sport, able to host major festivals and events, indoor sports, exhibitions, weddings, parties and conferences as well as providing a range of facilities for daily community use.

''This is a key part of the council's investment in Bute and our ambition to stimulate the local economy and will follow on from the hugely successful Townscape Heritage Initiative, which has done fantastic work to restore a number of town centre buildings to their former glory.''

For more information or images please contact Stuart Thomas at Rothesay Pavilion Charity  07872068174


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