The trustees at Gavin’s Mill in Milngavie have launched a major fundraising campaign to ensure it remains in the hands of the local community.
The iconic B-listed building, which dates back to the 17th century and was a working mill until the 1950s, has been transformed from a sad and neglected shell in the corner of Tesco’s car park into a vibrant and welcoming Fairtrade shop and cafe.
Trustee Liz Ibbitson said: “People may not know that all the improvements have been done on a wing and a prayer, with a shoestring budget and the superb efforts, and goodwill of a band of dedicated volunteers.”
Now the trustees say that £500,000 is needed by 2020 to ensure the venue stays in community hands. They want to purchase the leased building to ensure it does not return to private commercial letting and develop it into a vibrant community resource.
Trustee Dr Sue Milne added: “When the trustees first visited Gavin’s Mill during the winter of 2016-17, it was not a pretty sight.
“Two years of neglect had left it unloved, dirty and in danger of become derelict – yet somehow it was still full of potential.
“Just over two years later, we have a thriving Fairtrade shop and café.”
She added: “Our ambitions know no bounds but sadly they far exceed our financial resources. However, with the help of the local community, we are certain Gavin’s Mill can become a magnificent community resource, flexible enough to meet the needs of many local groups and to remain at the heart of Milngavie where it belongs.”
A public consultation, say the trustees, has revealed that flexible space would be welcomed by many local people and organisations, for heritage, exhibition, educational and recreational purposes.
Liz said: “But, as ever, there’s a snag and a pretty big one at that! Gavin’s Mill is not currently fit for the range of community purposes that underpin the vision for it. It’s an old building that needs extensive – and expensive – refurbishment and adaptation. But to make these changes, the Community Project needs to purchase the Mill and that’s the main reason for this major funding push.”
A number of community projects are already active at the Mill. A cycle club use it as their HQ, young gardeners with special educational needs have planted a herb garden, there are jazz sessions and educational clubs.
Soon to start is a series of coffee mornings aimed at addressing the twin problems of loneliness and isolation suffered by (mainly) local elderly and housebound residents,