Durness Village Hall

Until 2002 the village hall, built in 1935 from funds raised by local subscriptions, sales of work, and local entertainment augmented by grants and a loan from the National Council of Social Services stood in the village square. An extension for gent's toilets and storage was added in the early 1970s.

 

In 1980, the hall was re-roofed after severe storm damage for two successive winters. Labour was supplied voluntary and carried out over three consecutive Sundays. By 2000 the old wooden village hall in the square was requiring considerable repairs and was no longer able to provide the facilities needed by the community.

 

Demolition day involved a large squad of volunteers and the old hall was raised to the ground with much of the timbers being locally recycled.

The hall had been the venue for many village gatherings. Badminton, dances, ceilidhs, plays, sales, parties, wedding receptions, the visiting bank, hairdresser, school gym and meetings. The hall was used for some event nearly every day.

 

Before 1935, the school records show the school building was the central focus for village events. The village hall has long past the state of running repairs.

 

In 1989, a subcommittee was appointed to look into the feasibility and costing of either repairing or rebuilding.

 

In 1994, the hall committee started to raise funding for a new village hall. Intricate debates about sighting and extended usage has concluded to rebuild on a new site, behind the mace shop about two hundred and fifty metres away, with an improved facility. Outline planning permission was applied for in December 1996. In early 1997, plans for the new hall suffered a severe setback when an application for financial aid from the Millennium Fund was rejected.

The new Durness hall was opened in August 2001 by councillor Frances Keith This was the result of ten years fund raising and applying to agencies for funding.

The new multipurpose building was planned to have a separate day care facility for the elderly and the nine members’ strong community care group had joined forces with the village hall committee. The fund raising campaign started some years before had raised around twenty two thousand pounds and it was hoped that half the cost would be met by the millennium fund. Once this core funding was secured it was expected to unlock the door for grant aid from other organisations. People were very disappointed. The County Committee of the Highland Council agreed that a Durness hall should be a priority under the Village Hall Renewal Scheme and a renewed plan slightly less ambitious plan was pursued. Planning permission was obtained for a building at Druim Bhlair and an application for funding to the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations was successful.