Letter: Red Cross hall closure

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Sir,

I was surprised and deeply disappointed reading of the British Red Cross decision to sell the Campbeltown hall. This decision was led by Marie Hayes, the national director for independent living and crisis response in Scotland.

I have been the joint treasurer of the Campbeltown Red Cross committee for the past 17 years.

Prior to retiring I was a locally based bank manager for 26 years with a total service of 35 years. I mention this merely to give credibility to what I am about to say.

I can confirm and have advised on many occasions, to all concerned at the Red Cross in Kintyre and regionally, that the income generated and fundraising achieved, during my time here, more than justifies laving the hall as a base.

We asked the regional officials to give us a breakdown of the overheads incurred annually by having the hall. This resulted in a projected figure of £6,715 for 2018.

We would question this but even if correct, we contributed £9,089.51 in 2017. The vast majority of this money was raised in the confines of the hall.

Since 2001 Campbeltown and district has contributed £119,402.39 to Red Cross funds with hall rental alone raising £15,220 in the last four years.

It rises annually, accommodating many small local associations who have become reliant on the hall. They would struggle finding similar venues to hold their classes if the hall was sold.

Also the local committee has the power to set the hourly rate for rental and if necessary could increase this.

There continues to be demand for space with many organisations booking up to six months in advance to avoid disappointment.

Therefore be in no doubt there is no economic reason to sell the hall.

The local committee, some of whom have served for more than 30 years, are 100 per cent opposed to this decision.

I could write much more on the history of this hall. It was originally purchased by the members of the local committee.

They knew that a centre where people of the whole area could gather was necessary for training, to instigate local fundraising initiatives, hold coffee mornings and distribute more than 50 collecting cans, but I won’t.

We appear to be coming to the end of an era. Everyone in this area from Carradale to Campbeltown, Southend to West Road and to Machrihanish should give yourselves a huge pat on the back for supporting the Red Cross.

I can assure you that the members of your local committee are proud of you all.

As a result of the amount of fundraising here I was honoured to represent the area at a Buckingham Palace garden party.

One of our patrons spoke to us personally, emphasising that the backbone and success of the Red Cross, was not the salaried office administrators but the unpaid experienced locally based volunteers. That patron was HRH Prince Charles.

Changed days.

The present salaried officials do not listen to local views and in my opinion, with this decision, have not only let down the hard working Red Cross committee and the community but are even more disappointing themselves.

James R Morrison,

Resigning joint treasurer Red Cross.