OVER 10 years of hard work by the Guide movement in Carnoustie culminated on Saturday with the opening of the refurbished Guide Hall in Yeaman Street.
The opening ceremony was conducted by Norma Smith who was the Guides District Commissioner in 1970 when the hall was first opened.
At that time there were three Brownie Packs and three Guide Companies in Carnoustie. However, by the 1990s the hall was showing its age and had become inadequate due to the increasing number of units.
There are now three Rainbow units, five Brownie Packs and three Guide Companies. There are over 200 members including 30 adult leaders and over a dozen or so 14 to 17-year-olds who help with the younger girls.
Paula McGregor told the Guide & Gazette: “For many years we debated about what to do about improving our accommodation, and the local Guide Association, as they were known then, maintained the hall as best they could to keep a roof over our heads.
“In August, 2000, the Carnoustie and District Centenary Guide Hall Fund Group was formed. Our goal was to raise £250,000 to either build a new purpose built Guide Hall or upgrade the existing building.
“Our preference at that time was for a brand new building. The early days were spent fund-raising, searching for suitable ground and more fund-raising. In 2002 the Red Cross Hall in Dundee Street was being sold but our bid was rejected.
“In 2004 we were allocated a piece of ground in Pitskelly Park by Angus Council, close to where the new Health Centre is now situated, and in October we were granted outline planning permission for our ‘dream home’ In 2005 our goal changed in that we were looking to build a facility that would benefit the community as well. In 2007 we joined with Carnoustie Community Action Group (CCAG) to consider sharing accommodation in the proposed new community centre at the Kinloch School site.
“Throughout all this time fund-raising and applications to charitable trusts continued.”
Paula revealed that by 2008 they had £61,000 in the bank but by now needed over £300,000. She went on: “We couldn’t secure big lottery funding so we modified our plans and a study by Angus College gave a positive report, but by 2009 we realised a new build was not really an option, so we turned to upgrading and extending our existing premises. A plan was drawn up and more meetings with Angus Council resulted in agreeing to submit outline planning permission.
“In March of last year the work commenced. We received a maximum grant from Angus Council to replace our old broken fence, and the outside ground work has been completed just in the nick of time for the opening.”
Paula said that soon the Centenary Hall Fund group will be wound up and the running of the hall will be returned to Friends of Guiding.
She extended special thanks to Barry Parish Church, Carnoustie Panbride Church, St Anne’s Church and the YMCA who all provided accommodation while the work was being carried out.
She concluded: “We would like remind everyone that the on Saturday, July 7, the Guide Hall will be open for teas and coffees during the Gala Day celebrations. Again we would like to thank all of those who have offered advice, donated money, time and effort: it is very much appreciated.”