In 2015, Oban’s former Rockfield school faced the threat of demolition after falling out of use. Eager to retain the school as a centre for community activity, the community clubbed together to form the Oban Communities Trust (OCT) – with the aim of reclaiming the school and transforming it into a bright, modern, cultural community hub.
Local volunteers set to work rid the site of dry and wet rot in order to save the building, and since then the OCT has raised nearly £2m towards the refurbishment of what is now known as The Rockfield Centre.
Extensive community consultation identified four core themes for the building’s use:
1 Arts and Culture
2 History and Heritage
3 Enterprise and Education
4 Community Wellbeing
Since taking ownership in May 2015, over 20,000 people have attended events and activities at The Rockfield Centre, while over 10,000 hours of volunteer hours have been logged.
Activities at the centre include Blether Sessions, a Camera Club, a Friendship Club, kids activities and open mic nights.
There is a Scratch Choir and regular music sessions, while yoga and mindfulness classes are also available. Onsite is a community charity shop, which hosts heritage events, exhibitions, workshops, art and sewing classes.
Once the main building is refurbished, OCT hope that the centre will thrive as a friendly community hub with a creative buzz. A canteen will offer free wifi as well as a space to exhibit local arts and crafts.
There are plans for all-weather heritage exhibitions, as well as a family history research space to display local history artefacts.
There will be increased space for creative use, including art and music workspaces, workshops, exhibitions and live performances. There will also be hot desking for small local businesses to share workspaces, share creativity and generate collaborative projects.
A host of training opportunities will also be provided in partnership with Argyll College and the University of Highlands and Islands.
A community share offer was launched on June 16 2018, giving the local community the opportunity to invest in the future of The Rockfield Centre. If successful, the timeline would see refurbishment start in December with the centre opening for business in 2020.
To find out more about how to invest in the future of your community, visit www.therockfieldcentre.org.uk or come into The Rockfield Centre community huts or contact Caroline on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07483 308 142.
For more information, contact:
Oban Communities Trust
19 Stevenson Street
Eleanor MacKinnon | Project Facilitator | email@example.com
Rhona Dougall | Arts Coordinator | firstname.lastname@example.org