Pinwherry School Project History

Where did this project idea develop from?

The Council owned village hall, which served the community well for many years, was coming to the end of its useful life. The mainly wooden construction was beginning to fail, deteriorating to the extent that the cost of repair rendered the building unviable. It was built in 1924 by local farmers to replace the village meeting place in the old creamery.  The hall was non-compliant with current Disability Discrimination Act requirements with no disabled access, disabled toilets and was no longer fit for purpose. The lack of parking and its constrained design restricted its use for local organisations and to meet and future community’s needs. As a result, our community has come a long way in the journey to create a new community facility and have worked through other options to ultimately come to the conclusion that redeveloping the former school was the most achievable and suitable option for the community.

The community’s original plans were to build a brand new fit-for-purpose community facility on the community owned Pinwherry Field, however this proved impossible to gain the required external funding for a new-build due to an unrealistic large target. Pinwherry Schoo;At a community public meeting in June 2017, the community decided to see if the Pinwherry School could be converted into a community facility. The (then) Pinwherry and Pinmore Community Development Association members agreed to look into this possibility and the organisation applied for, and was granted, charitable status as a SCIO in December 2017. A board of Trustees was formally appointed and these dedicated volunteers have been working through the stages of developing this project ever since. PPCDT is a two-tier SCIO and is governed and formed by its members, which comprise of local residents who were concerned at the inadequate facilities, down-turn of local employment and lack of enterprise opportunities in the villages.

Community Consultations

Once the PPCDT charity was formed, a Stage 1 Community Asset Transfer application was submitted to the South Ayrshire Council. Following this, a successful Stage 1 Scottish Land Fund application was submitted and PPCDT secured development money for architect’s fees and business consultant fees.

At this point PPCDT held another open meeting to inform the community of the progress made and to seek feedback and questions. A third community open meeting was held after the architects and QS produced plans and costings and after the business consultant and Project Officer from Creetown Initiative were engaged.

Further consultations, including stakeholder meetings with the Community Council, Community Association and the other local groups and organisations, were equally as supportive. A Pinwherry School Project Leaflet and accompanying Community Questionnaire was distributed to every adult in the Pinwherry and Pinmore community council area via delivery to every household.  A total of 65 questionnaires were returned, which equated to a 25% return rate. Results showed there is a clear majority vote (86%) in support of the community converting former Pinwherry School buildings into a community facility.

Asset Transfer

The PPCDT Project Officer produced and submitted the Stage 2 Community Asset Transfer application in early Autumn 2020 and it was approved in January 2021. We secured funding of £25,000 from the Scottish Land Fund for the acquisition of the school site and Pinwherry and Pinmore Community Development Trust formerly purchased the school site on 23rd April 2021 from South Ayrshire Council.

What are our Project Aims and Outcomes?

We have created a sustainable, financially viable, community asset, which is community-centred and includes a hall, meeting room, open plan meeting/exhibition area, pop-up café and office space with hotdesking opportunities. We are working to reduce social isolation, develop networks with support groups and boost community health and wellbeing. We plan to engage a part time Caretaker and a part time Cleaner, in addition to multiple volunteer opportunities. Existing and new start-up businesses will be supported in terms of office/business facility provision, supporting both self-employed people and employed individuals working remotely. We are providing an adaptable facility, which can be used for a variety of community and enterprising activities, projects, events and workshops.

The aims of our project are:

  • To provide community wealth-building and enterprise opportunities.
  • To reduce social isolation, develop networks with support groups and boost community health and wellbeing.
  • Provide an adaptable facility, which can be used for a variety of community activities, projects, events and workshops.
  • Create a sustainable, financially viable, community asset, which is community-centred.


Conversion Work

The total cost of the refurbishment of the building into a community facility was £495,447.43 and our Project Officer fundraised and subsequently secured the total project costs between May 2021 and February 2023.

The capital redevelopment project was phased as follows:

  • Phase 1) Essential repairs = January – June 2022
  • Phase 2) Redevelopment of North end = September – December 2022
  • Phase 3) Redevelopment of South end = January – April 2024

We are very grateful to our funders and professional partner organisations for supporting this project and helping us to realise our dreams.