Community Centre - History

The current Community Centre was formally the local primary school.

When the school closed ownership was conveyed to Contin Community Council in January 2003 for a nominal sum.

The buildings consist of the original two class room school adjoining the school house with later extensions as seen here in the rooms to the left and right hand sides of the original stone building.

Prior to 2003, the community’s hall was located further east along the main road, opposite the War Memorial, in the form of a simple, corrugated iron clad building with a small parking area adjacent.

This building was gifted to the community by MacKenzie of Coul and was erected in 1904 for the sum of £100. Initially, it was administered as property of Coul Estate although used for the benefit of the whole community. Later Trustees were appointed to take over ownership and all responsibilities for maintenance and upkeep. At some point (yet to be discovered by the writer) the trusteeship was passed to Contin Community Council which proceeded to sell the property upon taking possession of the former school in 2003.

Sadly, the school has proven to be a burdensome responsibility, not least as the scant maintenance afforded it for many years prior to its closure as a school has meant that considerable resources have had to be channeled into making it wind and watertight. In addition, the building retains an institutional ambience not conducive to much community activity.

For these reasons the Community Council decided in 2007 to research ways and means to provide a new community hall. To this end and recognizing that the Community Council was restricted in law in the kind of fund raising allowed to it, steps were taken to establish Contin Community Trust. It was hoped that ownership of the community centre could be conveyed to this new body so that it could realize the market potential of the school house and the former school buildings to create a new hall on the site of the school playing field.

While delayed to a great extent by the Highland Council’s threat to exercise its right of pre-emption (contained in the disposition by Highland Council when conveying ownership to the Community Council) the Community Trust has consulted as widely as possible the whole community to ascertain what kind of development the community desires to see.

A new, attractive hall, suitable for a wide variety of functions and for all ages, with café facilities included, to be built at the rear of the playing field with parking in front, has met with almost unanimous approval from the community. In addition, the former school would be demolished apart from the stone original. In its place affordable housing units would be created including a conversion of the stone original to form two units. The sale of the site for this purpose and the proceeds from sale of the school house would raise approx. half of the amount required to construct the new hall.

Negotiations between Highland Council, Contin Community Council and Contin Community Trust to remove the pre-emption burden have been lengthy and absurdly protracted, but at January 2010 it appears that an agreement may be possible by Easter or early summer.

Copyright 2010 Contin Community Trust. Registered Charity SC325053. Site design by Rob Elliott at Strathview