Christmas comes early as Burnfoot hits £1M jackpot

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WORK to transform the former Burnfoot Roadhouse into a vibrant community hub will begin in the New Year, thanks to a huge £1.2million National Lottery grant.

The Christmas spirit reached fever pitch for the people of Burnfoot on Wednesday, when in front of a large crowd expecting to watch only the annual switching on of the festive lights in Kenilworth Avenue – Santa Claus brought an extra-special present
in the form of a cheque for £1,180,814.

Cheers rang out when the Christmas lights countdown was halted to reveal that volunteer group Burnfoot Community Futures’ ambitious bid for funding to purchase the derelict pub and transform it into a hub – comprising a café, function room, childcare, rental spaces, garden and soft play – had finally been given the news that it had been successful.

Welcoming the award, Richard Knight, the new chairman of Burnfoot Community Futures, said: “I am ecstatic, this has been a long time coming and a lot of hard work, but it’s a great feeling that today has finally come. The community hub will not only transform a local eyesore, but aims to transform the lives of all residents of Burnfoot, and bring back vital services to the community.”

And there is even further reason to celebrate, as the grand total of grant money secured now totals nearly £2million, with the group having won money from five different grant-making bodies. Jan Pringle, a director at Burnfoot Community Futures, said: “I am absolutely thrilled. It’s been a tremendous amount of work to get this far, but it is becoming a reality now.”

The lottery boost means that the group can now begin negotiations to purchase the property – on the market for £135,00 plus VAT – and although planning permission is in place and general design is complete, Burnfoot Futures will now also commission architects to finalise building warrants. And with work due to begin as early into the New Year as possible and expected to last nine months, it is hoped the hub will open its doors in early 2015.

Big Lottery funding officer Dave Knight said: “I am delighted to be here on behalf of the Big Lottery Fund, and I’m delighted to see the community’s success today. We recognise the work, time and energy that has gone into this, and once the hub is built it will be an asset for years to come. It’s a good use of lottery funding.”

Zoe Hall, outgoing chairperson of the group, told the Hawick News: “Today is unbelievable and the hub will open up so many opportunities for the community, it’s amazing.” The facility is expected to employ a manager, care taker, café manager and two part-time café assistants.