An Ayrshire charity secured the future of an iconic building as it was handed the keys of Kilmarnock Academy – in what is considered to be the largest Community Asset Transfer in Scotland to date.

Centrestage currently operates from seven sites across Ayrshire, but this transfer of ownership will see the development of the ‘Centrestage Village’ within the B listed building – a move which will enable Centrestage to deliver all of its core activities from a single location.

This will allow growth across all projects and offering significantly increased opportunities to work with and support new and existing local and regional organisations and partners.

Fiona McKenzie, CEO of Centrestage said: “To be able to retain the Kilmarnock Academy site as an educational facility from which the whole community, regardless of age, background or experience, will be able to benefit is a true privilege and challenge and is not a decision that we have taken lightly.

“We are totally committed to ensuring Centrestage Village becomes a destination for the whole community to be able to come together, to celebrate and respect its history, whilst creating new stories for the future.”

In 2018, the Kilmarnock Academy Legacy Project was awarded £2million from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF), which supports projects in disadvantaged and rural communities.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “I’m delighted that the transfer of this important building has now been concluded. We’ve been able to support East Ayrshire Council and Centrestage with £2 million from our Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, to allow the redevelopment of this iconic landmark. Community-owned buildings can be powerful catalysts for change. The redevelopment of Kilmarnock Academy as a new home for the charity Centrestage will help expand the work they already do to improve people’s lives. I look forward to seeing the Centrestage Village take shape and seeing the positive impact it will have on local people.”

This funding will contribute to the creation of the arts, educational, community and creative spaces across the former Academy site.