WHERE IT ALL STARTED
The Inchmarlo Community Workshop – Genesis, History and Purpose
In 1949, the granite-built, slate-roofed stable of what was the Defiance Inn (now Defiance Cottage) was legally transferred by its then owners, James Jones, timber merchants, to the trustees of the Inchmarlo hall for use as a hall store. By the early years of this century it had fallen into disuse, and its condition quickly deteriorated. Some individuals in the community recognised the threatened loss of this venerable part of the local built heritage and saw its potential as a community workshop when renovated. It was anticipated that the Inchmarlo Community Workshop (ICW) would provide a valuable symbiotic addition to the facilities of the hall.
A survey of local residents identified individuals who together possessed a wide range of craft skills; in addition, a number of individuals professed a desire to learn new skills or improve existing ones. The hall committee agreed to allow the building to be renovated as a workshop, and further, agreed that the workshop would be run by a separate Inchmarlo Community Workshop committee as a satellite of the Inchmarlo hall.
In the spring of 2017 renovation was started on a DIY basis. Subsequently, support from the Midhill Wind Farm community fund allowed a builder to be employed for the more substantial work of replacing the earth floor with a concrete solum, the replacement of the unsafe granite wall between the front doors with a harled concrete block wall, installation of new doors, roof lights and a window in the East wall.
In March 2018, the workshop was awarded the sum of £26,434 for the purchase of professional woodworking machines, dust extraction, power and hand tools and external ground and drainage works. This sum comprised a Leader grant of £20,434, with £6,000 match funding from the Midhill Wind Farm community fund.
One of the first uses of the workshop was by the inaugural Basic Woodwork class, which, under the tutelage of Alan Smith, commenced instruction in the back room of the hall in late 2017, and then undertook their project work in the workshop in early 2018. Since then there have been two further enrolments, but they were paused for 2020/21 due to lockdown.
The workshop quickly proved its worth as a community facility, but almost immediately it became obvious that it was too small for more than a very few individuals to use at any one time. Plans were prepared for an extension with an area twice that of the original building, at an estimated cost of some £60,000. A programme of funding applications commenced with some success. However it became apparent that most funding bodies would only entertain applications from registered charities. At the ICW AGM in March 2020 it was decided to proceed with an application to the Scottish Charity Regulator, OSCR, for charitable status. This was awarded on 30th July 2020, whereupon the Inchmarlo Community Workshop became the Inchmarlo Community Workshop (SCIO) under the management of a board of seven trustees.
Work on the extension commenced in July 2020; completion is anticipated in July 2021, pandemic restrictions permitting.
The workshop is a community resource, anyone over eighteen can join; younger individuals can attend in the care of a parent or guardian. There are no fees, members are only required to obey the rules of the constitution. The workshop is used for the pursuit of personal projects entailing the manufacture of objects of utility or beauty or both. But importantly members also combine to address community needs when these present themselves. Members who are not in possession of an active project can just call in by for a blether.