Perthshire charity appeals for help to refurbish former shopping arcade

By Lynn Duke

A Crieff charity is appealing for help from local tradespeople, groups and individuals to help bring an arcade back to life.

Crieff Connexions has taken over the former Penny Lane shopping arcade and want to use it to expand on its existing services for the community.

Its High Street base has now closed so that volunteers can focus on getting the new hub at the Church Street venue up and running as soon as possible.

But there is a lot of work to be done to bring the centre’s units back into shape, and help is needed.

Volunteer Sophie Coles explained: “Currently volunteers are doing as much as they can but there is a huge amount of work to do.

“We are renovating each of the units in the building ourselves but we are going to need lots of help from the community.

“We need help from tradesmen, and from people who can offer support to clean, dust and paint.

“We are a small band of volunteers so we could really do with more help, especially from tradespeople for things like plastering for example.

“The potential here in terms of a community resource is incredible. We are going to have a specific unit for a clothing bank, a specific unit for food, a specific unit for soft play, a cafe, a counselling area, meeting space and a men’s shed, so from a community point of view we would like to get people involved as early as possible.

“We can use everybody - it doesn’t matter what people are good at. We want people to feel they have been part of this community project.

“If we had some tradespeople or local groups who could give up some hours in an evening that would really help.”

Crieff Connexions will still be offering its foodbank service from the doorway at Penny Lane on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday but its other services are currently on hold as volunteers concentrate on preparing the new community hub.

The hope is that it will open in some form early in February.

Rev Andrew Philip, of Crieff Parish Church, said: “Here is a place that is reopening in Crieff so it’s a great thing.

“The community has asked for a space like this again and again and, in the town’s community action plan, we [Crieff Connexions] were identified as providing that space so we just need everyone to get behind it and make it viable.”

Volunteers will be working at Penny Lane on Saturdays from 11am to 3pm for the next few weeks if anyone would like to lend a hand.

If any tradespeople can spare a few hours outwith these times, they can contact Crieff Connexions at admin@crieff connexions.org.uk or by messaging the Crieff Connexions Facebook page.

As well as expanding the community projects already offered by Crieff Connexions, long-term plans include opening a soft play area in one of the larger units. Donations for this can be made via https://gofund.me/14e50bda.


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