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First indoor toilets for 165 years as Mearns church is brought into 21st century

Marion Brownlie Property Convenor, in the new kitchen.
Marion Brownlie Property Convenor, in the new kitchen.

Members of a Mearns congregation are feeling flush after five years of fundraising to provide their church with indoor toilets – for the first time since 1854.

Faced with an ageing building which was no longer fit for purpose, they undertook an ambitious development programme which culminated in the creation of a new, multi-purpose first floor space for use by the St Cyrus community.

The work included the re-development of an under-utilised gallery, the installation of a lift and a new kitchen and toilets at the Mearns Coastal Parish Church.

Members of the Mearns Coastal Parish in their newly renovated building.

The £80,000 project was part funded by a £10,000 grant from the Tullo/Twinshiels Community Benefit Fund for the lift, with the remaining £70,000 funded entirely by the 80-strong congregation and local businesses.

Property convenor Marion Brownlie said: “This has taken us five years and we are now in the position to invite local groups and organisations to come forward to say how we can use the new building.

“We started with the electrics which cost almost £20,000, and we needed another £60,000 for the rest of the work.

“We had a lift installed to make the building accessible for everybody – those with less ability, mothers with children in buggies.

A lift has been installed for access to the new first floor space.

“We had to put in a new fire exit, fire alarms, smoke alarms and emergency lighting.

“We had so much work done by volunteers – the kitchen was donated by a member of the congregation and we had a TV and camera donated which we can use if there is a big funeral.

“If the downstairs is full we can use upstairs with the service viewed on a monitor.

“Members of the congregation have done everything from dismantling the dilapidated old toilet block outside to carrying out painting work which saved us money.”

The church’s work in the community has been curtailed over the years due to the condition of the building.

Now the work is complete members are keen to open the doors to others.

Marion continued: “The church has always been the centre of the community, but it has tailed away.

“We were constrained by what we could do as the building was not fit for purpose.

“Now we have carried out the improvement works we are hoping others can use it.

“A history group has been mentioned but we are looking for suggestions for additional uses of the church in the hope of re-uniting the community.

“This has been five years in the making and we are absolutely delighted.”

An open afternoon is being held on Saturday from 2-5pm where views can be shared on how the renovated building can be used.

Anyone unable to attend but who would like to contributed can contact Marion on 01674 850308.

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