How It All Began
Erected in 1875 at a cost of £4,500, the former Dryfesdale Public Old School building has been at the heart of the local community for over 140 years. In 1903 the building became home to Lockerbie Academy until the 1960s when the Academy moved to more modern premises. The building then served as the local Primary School.
In 1988, after the Lockerbie Disaster, the school building was home to the investigation HQ. Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Architects, Social Work and Community Education department operated out of the building until 2010 when it was decided by the council that the premises was ‘surplus to requirements’.
As part of the process of disposing of the building, it was necessary to determine whether there was any local community interest in obtaining it. At a public meeting in early 2013 it was clear that not only was there interest in retaining the building but there was a growing need for a flexible community space in Lockerbie that could be used by a range of local groups including preschool activities, children’s sports, youth groups, café, educational classes, arts, services for the elderly etc.. This needed to not only serve Lockerbie but the district and surrounding areas.
Three local members of the community formed an ad hoc committee to begin the process of investigating how the community could take control of this significant building and to consider the viability of such a venture. Through a string of public meetings, forged relationships and a lot of hard work the journey began. The current committee was bought together and is now working alongside the original members to make the vision a reality.
The committee as it stands today is made up of a group of individuals from the immediate local area all with varied backgrounds brought together by their shared interest in developing the currently derelict Old School building for use by the community. The committee members have a diverse range of skills and experience between them. There are also two part time paid members of staff, a Project Manager and a Communications & Engagement Officer.
The committee come from varied working backgrounds, volunteering experiences and also includes those who work daily in the local community. Between them, the committee members have direct access to a broad sector of the community and have sat on a number of boards and trusts for community development and are committed to making this project a success.