Cumbrae Community Development Company celebrates 20 years since inception.

It is twenty years since a group of concerned citizens of Millport decided that they were not going to sit idly by and let Garrison House fall into disrepair.

Cumbrae Community Development Company (CCDC) was formed to represent a distraught community, under the leadership of Mr. Jim Hamilton and to challenge North Ayrshire Council to reconsider its decision to close the building.

Members of the community formed CCDC and were determined to save the building as it was the life blood of the local community.

Through persistent lobbying, support was secured from the Heritage Lottery and the European Regional Development Fund.

Assistance was sourced from Regional Funders and Historic Scotland and they put together a successful business case for redeveloping the site and building.

The complexity of the project required several rounds of cost saving however the team fought hard to open up the heart of the building and create a glazed atrium over two storeys, with museum and the café opening out into a courtyard.

Many challenges were overcome, the original contractor went bankrupt, and significant amount of unforeseen work was needed to consolidate the building shell, but CCDC was not deterred. The most important factor was to preserve the role the building had at the ‘heart’ of the community.

The restoration programme is well documented online and a testimony to how one small community group can protect their heritage and preserve and celebrate their historic assets.

Garrison House is an admired integral hub of community life; and received the recognition of many within the building industry of its impact:

  • Winner of Roses Design Awards 2008 for Best Re-use of a Listed Building
  • Glasgow Institute of Architects Awards 2008 for Conservation and Repair and Restoration Category in Natural Stone Awards 2008
  • Commendation in Civic Trust Awards 2009
  • Shortlisted in the Scottish Design Awards 2009 – Reuse of a Listed Building and Public Building Categories
  • Commended in BURA Awards for Community Inspired Regeneration
  • Highly Commended in the Community Benefit category of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Awards.

On behalf of the current Board of CCDC we salute those who took up the baton exactly twenty years ago to save this magnificent building for future generations.