Forres Town Hall is now in the hands of the community following the conclusion of a successful asset transfer to FACT (Forres Area Community Trust).
FACT has prepared a vision which will see the town hall transformed and refurbished to create an event venue, community building and co-working space fit for the 21st Century, supporting the community in many and different ways. The Main Hall will be made into a modern multi-purpose performance area, while the Lesser Hall will be restored to become a beautiful event space once more, and there will be improved accessibility to all areas including upper floors.
The building was officially handed over to FACT on 26 February.
Joanna Taylor, Chair of Forres Area Community Trust said: “This is tremendous news, and the culmination of a process which began back in 2018. We are now moving forward with a major fundraising strategy to raise the £3.4 million estimated overall cost of a regeneration project to bring the community’s vision for the future of Forres Town Hall to life and to act as a catalyst for positive change in Forres and the surrounding area”.
The project will regenerate, refurbish, and insulate the building, and its flexibility of use and attractiveness as an event and activities centre will provide a springboard for a wider regeneration process within the town of Forres.
The project will maximise the potential of the building whilst at the same time reducing its environmental impact and running costs. This will lead to the long-term sustainability of Forres Town Hall as an asset for the whole community and help further FACT’s aim to create a better place to live, work and visit.
Debbie Herron, Development Manager at FACT said: “We are very excited to receive confirmation that Forres Town Hall, an iconic building at the heart of our community, is now in community ownership. The proposed regeneration project is a potent combination of architectural importance, cultural significance and community benefit and we are looking forward to moving to the next steps for this project.”
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our funders at the Scottish Land Fund, National Lottery Community Fund, and Highlands & Islands Enterprise, and the Community Support Unit and the Community Asset Transfer team at Moray Council who have helped us reach this exciting milestone in the history of Forres Town Hall.”
John Watt, Chair of the Scottish Land Fund, said: “We are delighted that Forres Area Community Trust have achieved their goal and that Forres Town Hall will now form the centre of vital activities that will support and enhance the community for generations to come”.
Moray Council’s Acting Community Support Manager, Dawn Brodie, said: “Our community support unit has supported FACT over the last two years as they worked on their CAT (community asset transfer) business case. It has been so encouraging to see FACT manage and improve the Town Hall in the last couple of years and to work alongside HIE to support FACT through the CAT process. It’s great news that the transfer is complete and I would just wish them every success with their exciting plans for the development of the building.”
FACT are particularly keen to hear from anyone who would like to share memories, reminiscences, or photographs about past times spent at Forres Town Hall, and these should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call 01309 674388.