Sun shines as SKDT Hall is officially opened

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Colourful bunting and balloons led the way to the grand opening of Kirk Street’s newly named SKDT Hall.

A new sign above the door of the hall, formerly the Red Cross Hall, was unveiled at 10am last Saturday, before an open day featuring activities for all the family.

There was a barbecue, sweetie stall, bouncy castles and play equipment, as well as teas, coffees, home-baking and a raffle to celebrate the reopening of the hall following renovations, after it was bought by South Kintyre Development Trust (SKDT) from the British Red Cross.

Organisers hailed the event a ‘great success’ with more than 200 people attending throughout the day – and thankfully the weather remained pleasant enough for all of the outdoor activities to go ahead as planned.

SKDT manager Eric Spence thanked everyone for attending and introduced Anne Cousin, convener of the Kintyre branch of the British Red Cross before it was disbanded in 2018, to unveil the sign.

Speaking at the event, Mrs Cousin said: ‘My connection with the hall goes back to 1973 when I was a member of the Red Cross committee which began fundraising to buy the hall. The hall was bought in 1975 and became a hub of local Red Cross activities, offering first aid classes, loan of medical equipment, training of Red Cross cadets, Friendship Club, a base for our emergency response team and a centre for our fund-raising events, particularly during Red Cross week.

‘In 1978, the Clothes Peg Shop, as it was known, was opened in the rooms upstairs and run by the committee members. This proved to be a major asset to fundraising and eventually moved to its present site in Hall Street.

‘Throughout this time, the Red Cross in Kintyre continued to work for the greater good of the community, locally and internationally, and was generously supported by the people of Kintyre.’

Mrs Cousin explained that in 2009, with the aid of a grant from Campbeltown Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme, the hall was extensively refurbished.

‘Through time, we let out the hall to a variety of organisations for their fundraising and social activities, and latterly it served as the Red Cross Centre and as a community hall,’ Mrs Cousin added. ‘I am pleased that this will continue and develop with the SKDT, and that the people of Kintyre will continue to enjoy the amenity of this special little hall.’

Mr Spence highlighted the role of SKDT in bringing the asset back into public ownership on behalf of the local community.

He stressed that SKDT is an organisation which relies on the support of volunteers in order to function – its board of directors made up entirely of volunteers, with many volunteers assisting us on a number of projects.

He said: ‘The building will become a hub for our current and future volunteers while remaining a key community hall which can be hired for meetings, functions, coffee mornings, as a rehearsal space, etc.

‘This is the second building that we have brought back into community ownership and we hope to supplement the activities of Campbeltown Town Hall with this new facility.’

After Anne unveiled the new sign and officially opened the building, she was presented with bouquet of flowers by SKDT’s chairwoman, Felicity Kelly.

Mr Spence added: ‘We would like to thank PC Karen Cairns and her team from Police Scotland Youth Volunteers (PSYV) for their tremendous help throughout the day making tea and coffee, serving cake and biscuits, and cleaning up; Father Anthony Wood of St Kieran’s RC Church for allowing us to use the chapel lawn for our barbecue and bouncy castle for the event; Campbeltown Fire Station and Funky Chicken for making the children’s day with the use of the bouncy castle, face painting and circus activities; and a big thank you to all our staff and volunteers – some of whom produced a fine array of scrumptious home-baking – who made the event happen.’

SKDT manager Eric Spence, former Red Cross convener Anne Cousin and SKDT chair Felicity Kelly. KC_c34skdthall01

Eric Spence assists Anne Cousin to unveil SKDT Hall’s new signage. KC_c34skdthall02

Felicity Kelly presents Anne Cousin with a bouquet of flowers. KC_c34skdthall03

Some of those who turned out the the official opening of SKDT Hall. KC_c34skdthall04

Joshua Sinclair jumps for joy on a bouncy castle. KC_c34skdthall05

PC Karen Cairns, Campbeltown PSYV’s group coordinator. KC_c34skdthall06

PC Karen Cairns, second right, with PSYVs Finlay Barnett, Krystal Allen, Iona Campbell and Brodie MacLaren. KC_c34skdthall07

There were activities outside the hall. KC_c34skdthall08