Committee running Moray’s biggest entertainment venue facing pivotal year

Elgin Town Hall for the Community chairman Mike Devenney is optimistic about the venue's future.
Elgin Town Hall for the Community chairman Mike Devenney is optimistic about the venue's future.

A new year brings fresh challenges for the committee charged with running Moray’s biggest entertainment venue.

Elgin Town Hall was officially leased to a community group in August after a crowdfunding campaign was launched raising more than £3,000 to help with the costs of running the building.

When the Elgin Town Hall for the Community group signed the lease, the board was  given six months of council funding which runs out at the end of January.

Now, chairman of the group Mike Devenney, stressed how pivotal 2019 will be for the association because they will have to stand on their own two feet.

He said: “Right now at the present, indications are that we are doing enough to stay on firm financial footing although we do have to try and supplement our income, which we are doing quite well through our bar.

“I wouldn’t go as far as saying that 2019 we will either sink or swim but we must work harder and do more for not only us but the community.

“It is a pivotal year for us and it remains the case that we must make money.

“One of the most important things for our continued existence is to learn from our past mistakes and sharpen up our act as a board and have a better sense of the value of our hall.”

>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter

The venue was one of six council owned town halls and two community centres threatened with closure at the beginning of last year as part of cost-cutting measures in Moray.

It has now been leased for at least two years by the group and in February will become one of the largest community-run in venues in Scotland operating without any public subsidy.

Improvements have already been made, with a fully-licensed bar now in the hall and more events being hosted.

Mr Devenney is optimistic about the future, with recent sold-out shows by Skipinnish and Decoded proving that the venue is a popular place.

He said: “If you look at tickets sales at some events, they fly out straight away which is pretty phenomenal and it has led us to broaden out with what kind of events we hold.

“It is going to be a challenge to run the hall but we have a hard-working board and we will be around for the foreseeable future.”