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Oban celebrates one year ownership of Rockfield Centre

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People in Oban will celebrate one year of an important building in the town centre coming into community ownership this weekend.

The Rockfield Centre, a former primary school, was rescued from the bulldozers after locals wanted to save the building for community use.

It had lain empty for seven years after pupils moved to the new school on Soroba Road.

Former owners, Argyll and Bute Council, had planned to sell it to a housing association for just £1 to make way for affordable flats.

But members of the community wanted to see the building brought back to its former glory and used as a meeting place and cultural centre.

Oban Communities Trust was formed and in just one year, with the help of many volunteers, the building has been eradicated of dry rot and hosted a number of exciting exhibitions and performances.

The trust has a long term plan which will eventually see the entire building being renovated, but in the meantime parts are already being used by community groups.

The centre’s first art exhibition takes places over the celebration weekend from Friday May 6 until Tuesday May 10, with many local artists having submitted work.

On Sunday there will be a celebratory Arty Afternoon Tea at the Rockfield Centre Community Hut from noon until 4pm.

Gordon McNab, chairman of Oban Communities, said: “In the last year we have had more than 1,000 free man hours from volunteers spent removing all of the dry rot and wet rot from the building.

“We have concentrated on getting the hut nearest the big tree up and running with kitchen and toilet facilities and two rooms refurbished. They are being used by local groups including the community council, a yoga class, carers group and a heritage group.

“We have cleared the grounds and put the car park out to a company which manages it for us and we get a percentage of the takings.

“We are planning some fantastic events for this summer, so watch this space.”

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