The Orkney Creative Hub project has gained a major boost thanks to Alyn Smith, SNP MEP.
In a written response to Alyn’s letter, Commissioner Navracsics stated that the Hub was “both interesting and valuable, as the proposed space would facilitate access to cultural activities and cultural education” and would contribute to employment opportunities in Orkney.
“I’m delighted to hear such strong support from the European Commission in response to my letter asking for recommended avenues of funding.
“When I wrote to the Commission in February, I emphasised what a fantastic idea the Hub would be, and how it would provide a central location for education, development and enterprise opportunities. The Hub would provide supported volunteering and employment opportunities for those less able to join the workplace, and would be a valuable boost to Orkney’s economy.
“I cannot stress how important the Hub would be to Orkney and to Scotland as a whole. I know they’re struggling for funding right now, and the Commission has suggested using EU Structural Funds or the Creative Europe Programme.
“I’ve written a letter of support for the project to use as they will, and shall continue to be a strong advocate for the Orkney Creative Hub.”
Jan Judge, project lead, added:
“We are generally finding that whilst there is a huge support for the project that the grant funders are not coming to the table at the moment. But we’re making good progress with the social banking sector and are on track in our timetable to secure the building by the time our period of exclusivity comes to an end at the end of April.
“Once we have the building secured we have been given supportive comments as to the grant funders helping us with the conversion of the building and the projects that might be run within the building.”
Organisers behind the Orkney Creative Hub aim to raise £1 million to buy and adapt the former Ortak jewellery workship and visitor centre in Kirkwall, and have to raise £250,000 by the end of April before the building goes back on the open market.
The Hub will include a range of educational facilities not found elsewhere in the islands, and will provide opportunities to access the facilities throughout the year. This will lend support to the remote economy and extend the tourist season. For more information, check the official site. http://www.orkneycreativehub.co.uk