St David’s Brass Band buys hall for £1,000

Thursday February 24th 2022


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A brass band is taking ownership of a community hall for just £1,000 after councillors were told it needed up to £550,000 of repairs.

St David’s Brass Band, which has leased Vogrie Hall, in Gorebridge, for a number of years, made the bid for a community asset transfer with a pledge to ensure community groups would be able to use it for years into the future.

A meeting of Midlothian Council’s Community Asset Transfer Committee was told a council estimate on work needed to repair the hall which has been closed to the public, was in the region of £537,495.

And they were told the band, which is a registered charity, had raised funds of around £270,000 already for initial work with plans for future fundraising.

The virtual meeting was told that the band would have access to more funding and grants than the council would have when it came to meeting the work needed to make the hall available for use along with good will from local businesses and the community.

In its business case for taking on the hall the band said it had estimated costs for repairing the hall at £250,176 and had funds of £257,431, made up of an anonymous £200,000 donation and grant funding dependent on the community asset transfer going ahead.

It said its intention was to use the hall for its base and rehearsals and lease it to community groups to increase its annual revenue.

St David’s Brass Band was originally formed in 1981 as St David’s High School Brass Band for school pupils before becoming a registered charity and changing its name in 1997.

As well as contesting successes since then, the band has played at many high profile events including representing Scotland at the British Brass Band Championships on three occasions, playing the National Anthems at Murrayfield and in 2015 playing at the opening of the Borders Railway Line in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen.

Players have come from as far away as Norway, Belgium, Peterhead, Glasgow and even on occasion, Australia to play with band, with players’ ages ranging from 8 to 80.

At the virtual meeting of the committee, local ward member Councillor Jim Muirhead said Vogrie Hall held many happy memories for the community of Gorebridge recalling taking his road proficiency test and earning his “Tufty Club” badge in it as a child.

He said of the transfer: “I see this as a win, win, win situation for the council, the band and the community as a whole.”

The committee unanimously agreed to approve the transfer.

Mr Muirhead said: “I am sure we would want to send our best wishes to St David’s Brass Band for a successful future and thank them for their commitment to the community.”

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