The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 27 March 2015

£590,000 for Ayr Gaiety

Theatre revamp takes centre stage

Long-term plans to restore Ayr Gaiety will take a step forward thanks to a significant funding boost, Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil has announced. 

[Pictured: Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil (right) meets Jeremy Wyatt from the Ayr Gaiety which has received a £500,000 loan from the Social Growth Fund and £90,000 from the People and Communities Fund to help boost its refurbishment plans.] 

A £500,000 loan from the Social Growth Fund will be used to repair the historic theatre’s stall seating and to invest in new lighting and sound technology. 

This comes on top of £90,000 from the Scottish Government through the People and Communities Fund for 2015/16, which aims to help communities tackle poverty and inequalities in their area. 

The £500,000 loan is one of the first allocations of funds through the £16 million Social Growth Fund. Since the fund opened in May 2014, £150,000 has been allocated to the Factory Skatepark in Dundee, £1 million to iPower to combat fuel poverty, and £250,000 to Kelvin Valley Honey.

[Pictured: Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil (right) meets Jeremy Wyatt from the Ayr Gaiety which has received a £500,000 loan from the Social Growth Fund and £90,000 from the People and Communities Fund to help boost its refurbishment plans.] 

Mr Neil welcomed the funding boost on a visit to the theatre. He said: “This loan will help the Ayr Gaiety Partnership regenerate its fantastic historic building. By renovating the theatre and improving the experience for audiences I’m confident that this will have a knock-on effect on the local economy, encouraging more people to visit and spend money in Ayr.

“It’s exactly the type of community led project that the Scottish Government is supporting across Scotland. 

“We recognise that social enterprises strengthen our economy and support our aims of creating a fairer society, but we need to have the right environment for them to flourish. That is why it’s crucial for us to provide direct support and investment through schemes like the Social Growth Fund. 

“This Fund encourages our entrepreneurs and enterprising organisations to think of innovative ways to tackle inequalities and help us to deliver a better Scotland.”

Since re-opening the theatre just over two years ago, the Ayr Gaiety Partnership has sold over 120,000 tickets, started a major skills and employment initiative, established work with young people across Ayrshire and taken on programming of four more venues. 

This investment for Ayr Gaiety is part of the overall £2.4 million refurbishment of the theatre, with plans including improvements to the heating and ventilation and renovation of the entrance and foyer. 

This funding highlights the Scottish Government’s support for our culture and heritage and demonstrates our commitment to maintaining and improving our cultural infrastructure.

[Pictured: Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil visits the Ayr Gaiety which has received a £500,000 loan from the Social Growth Fund and £90,000 from the People and Communities Fund to help boost its refurbishment plans.]

Ian Welsh chair of Ayr Gaiety Partnership said: "This investment couldn't have come at a better time for us. We now need only around £300,000 before we can go ahead with our plans, so we are now on the 'home straight.’

“With a fully restored theatre we will be able to put on an even better programme of shows and put our business on a sustainable footing. 
“More than this, a modernised and fully equipped theatre will play a key role in our plans to provide training and employment opportunities to young people. It will boost the innovative BA in technical theatre we launched recently with the University of the West of Scotland. And form the core of an ambitious programme to provide practical training in stage technical skills which will eventually see hundreds of young people securing qualifications and jobs."

The £16 million Social Growth Fund is comprised of £8 million of loan repayments from recipients of the Scottish Investment Fund which have been reinvested by the Scottish Government, and £8 million from Big Society Capital.

The Fund is managed by Social Investment Scotland (SIS).

Alastair Davis, Chief Executive of SIS, said: “Ayr Gaiety Theatre delivers many social and economic benefits to the local community and we are delighted to assist with its renovation plans.

“This funding commitment from the Social Growth Fund has paved the way for significant commitments from other funders which have enabled this project to come to life. 

“Once the renovation is complete, the theatre will provide Ayrshire with a truly first class facility, which will deliver positive social impacts for many years to come.”

More information about the Ayr Gaiety Partnership is available HERE

The theatre’s revamp comes on top of the wider regeneration of Ayr town centre, which received £2.25 million through the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Regneration Fund in 2009/10. 

The full list of 197 projects being funded by the People and Communities Fund are listed HERE 

Since Social Investment Scotland (SIS) was established in 2001 it has invested over £43 million in almost 180 organisations across Scotland. Loan finance via Social Investment Scotland is available from £10,000 to £1 million and is aimed at community enterprises and social businesses that might find access to finance from mainstream providers difficult. 

SIS also manage the Scottish Investment Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government, which has seen £31.8 million invested in 67 third sector organisations since 2008, with the loan repayments being reinvested in the Social Growth Fund, to match an £8 million investment from Big Society Capital. BSC is an independent, UK wide organisation set up to grow the size of the social investment marketplace across the UK. 

For more information about SIS CLICK HERE

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