A community group will set up a new home in Coupar Angus after finally taking ownership of a former NHS building following three years of deliberations.
The Strathmore Community Hub will be based at the former health centre on Traders Lane in the heart of the Perthshire town.
Leaders hope to help small groups and services in Coupar Angus, as well as housing a Men’s Shed, a cafe and arts and crafts work.
The group secured £112,000 of Scottish Land Fund cash in early 2018 to help with their ambitious project. Additional funding came from the Gannochy Trust.
Keith Langelaan, vice-chairman of the Strathmore Community Hub, said it had been a long process to agree the transfer with NHS Tayside but taking ownership represented a huge step forward for the group’s ambitions.
“It’s taken nearly three years but we’re there thanks to the support of John Swinney and Pete Wishart as well as a good few other people,” he said.
“The building is hopefully going to be converted and will have small rooms that we’ll let out to groups. Also we’ll be inviting local services to come in. We’ll hopefully let to different groups of different sizes, particularly to groups trying to get started.
“We’re also going to be having a cafe which will become a focal point where we can have little snacks and coffee. It’s going to be a general hub.”
The group believes that the building’s location will help to make the hub a destination for residents and visitors.
Keith said: “It has its own car park, it’s right beside a bus stop and it is likely to be the last building available for years in the centre of Coupar Angus.
“It ticks all the boxes.”
John Swinney, SNP MSP, said he was “delighted” that the purchase had been completed.
He said: “I have been a long-term supporter of this important project, which will bring significant benefits to Coupar Angus and the surrounding area.
“Men’s Shed facilities play an important role in improving the mental and physical health of generally older men, whilst teaching new skills and combating isolation.
“I am therefore pleased that I have been able to assist with this ultimately-successful purchase, and I look forward to working closely with the group going forward as they bring their plans to fruition.”