New £5 million charity hub to be created

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Council members and employess outside the proposed hub site with Kenneth Ferguson, director Robertson Trust (third from left); next to Susan Fullerton, PLUS, and Natalie Masterson, SVE.

​The Robertson Trust backed facility will feature shared office accommodation and meeting space as well as a social enterprise cafe and play centre

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10th March 2017 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

A £5milllion charity hub is to be created in Stirling in a bid to attract more third sector organisations to the city.

The Robertson Trust is partnering with Stirling Council to create shared office accommodation and meeting space by converting three buildings at Forthside army barracks, which closed this year.

The trust, which is one of the country’s biggest independent funders, is investing £3.6m to pay for their refurbishment with Stirling Council adding £1.5m.

Local charity PLUS has already signed up to move in so it can develop a new social enterprise which will include an soft play area and café, which is accessible to all children and young people with support needs.

The developers say that a demand study has indicated significant interest from other third sector organisations to move their operation to the facility which will model itself on Robertson House, the Robertson Trust’s existing charity hub based in Glasgow.

Kenneth Ferguson, director of the trust, said: “We have seen first-hand the benefits of creating a high-quality space for Scotland’s charities and social enterprises to work and grow together.

“As Scotland’s largest independent funder, we are very excited to be working in partnership with Stirling Council on this innovative project and our investment of £3.6 million reflects our commitment to supporting the country’s third sector in ways that extend beyond traditional grant-making.

“We have every confidence that, like Robertson House, the hub will foster an environment of creativity, partnership working and idea sharing that, in turn, plays a significant role in improving the quality of life and realising the potential of people and communities in Scotland.

“This is a real opportunity to create a hub of national significance in the city and we look forward to the future with great optimism.”

Susan Fullerton, chief executive of  PLUS, a charity which supports children and young people with disabilities, to have access to social, leisure and recreational opportunities and activities, said: “PLUS is delighted about the future potential that this site offers children and young people with disabilities and their families. 

“Being able to realise our ambitions of providing a high quality, inclusive environment for the families we support, and the wider community, in a central location will be challenging for us as a small organisation.”

The prospect for the hub has also been welcomed by Stirling Voluntary Enterprise with its chief executive Natalie Masterton describing it as a tremendous opportunity for the various charities, community voluntary groups and social enterprises in Stirling to develop and grow.

“The hub will be so much more than just an office space; it will be a place for the third sector to work together, share ideas and resources and ultimately tackle the big issues that affect our society,” she said.

“I look forward to supporting the third sector to work together with Stirling Council and the Robertson Trust to develop and design these buildings as the heart of voluntary action in Stirling.”

Stirling Council leader Johanna Boyd added: “Growing the third sector is very important to us.  An enterprising third sector is a key partner for us as we tackle poverty and disadvantage, promote early intervention and support vulnerable families, and encourage the growth of social enterprises.”

Rennovation work is expected to begin this summer with the first phase opening in early 2018.