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community hall with chairs in a circle
community hall with chairs in a circle

Community space support for Glencairn Memorial Institute

The Glencairn Memorial Institute (GMI) was awarded £16,900 from the Annandale and Nithsdale Community Benefit Company to upgrade their ageing heating system. This not only improved their community space but also created a local Resilience Centre in case of emergencies.


The Glencairn Memorial Institute (GMI) is a vital community space that serves as a Memorial Institute and hosts a variety of community groups and events. However, the ageing heating system had become outdated, and inefficient. As it was unable to adequately heat the building expensive electric panel heaters had to used. Repairs of regular breakdowns were time-consuming and costly.

They approached Moniaive Initiative in 2020 while the building was closed due to the Covid-19 lockdowns.  The heating system had failed which had led to serious damp issues and the heating system was not efficient enough to enable the building to dry out.

The goal was to provide and warm and welcoming environment for members, including vulnerable groups such as babies, children, and the elderly while making it less burdensome for the volunteer committee to manage. 

The GMI worked with Moniaive Initiative to identify options for building renovation and development.  The aim was to improve the building's functionality and transform it into a Resilience Centre, providing a safe refuge during emergencies like flooding.

The works were successfully carried out in November 2023. The replacement works themselves went very smoothly, and the Management Committee have been very happy with the new system.


The upgrade has dramtically improved user experience. The upgrade of the heating system will enhance the user experience for the various community groups that rely on GMI. It will ensure a comfortable and safe environment for activities, meetings, and events, benefiting a wide range of users, including the Community Council, Brownies, Cairn Chorus, Fishing Club, Drama Club, Dance Club, and more.

This has also helped with the preservation of a local heritage building. The new heating system will prevent further damage to the historic building caused by dampness. By maintaining a suitable temperature, the upgrade will contribute to preserving the structure for future generations to enjoy. 

“Great that the temperature is so easy to control. Warmed up very quickly and was really comfortable.” Susan, local resident

Now with a functioning heating system, GMI can potentially serve as an emergency resilience centre for the local community during crises. This capability will provide a safe haven for residents, contributing to community preparedness and safety. 

“Its really warm and comfortable – what a lovely change. It is an ambient temperature the whole time.” Carol, local resident

The previous heating system had placed a significant burden on the small volunteer committee responsible for managing GMI. The upgrade has alleviated their workload and financial strain, making it easier to maintain the building and attract future committee members. 

“Massive improvement – well done all the team that kept going, pushed it forward and delivered for the village.” Wendy, building user group

This project has also helped the building to be more energy efficient and therefore environmentally friendly.  The new heating system is a more efficient system, reducing energy consumption and its associated environmental impact. Furthermore, the modernization of the electric system, lighting, and other improvements has also contributed to the overall energy efficiency in the GMI building. 

The upgrade of the heating system at Glencairn Memorial Institute will have a significant impact on the community. By improving the user experience, preserving the historic building, providing emergency resilience capabilities, and relieving the volunteer committee's burden, the project has enhanced the overall well-being and sustainability of GMI. Additionally, the environmental benefits of an energy-efficient heating system aligned with the broader goals of creating a more sustainable community space.

Future-proofing the building with a more efficient and sustainable heating system has helped to ‘future-proof’ the volunteer management committee as well.  Now that this key project is complete and the building is clearly easier to maintain, it allows the GMI to consider a new range of uses and events, and to plan ahead to a new phase of refurbishment work to better use some of those areas previously under-used. 

“This project was badly needed. The lack of a modern heating system contributed to a sharp decline in the condition of the building during the Covid closure. Now the volunteers from the Management Committee can set building temperature remotely, to ensure that everyone benefits from a warm and welcoming space. Improved energy efficiency will help to keep the building sustainable for the foreseeable future.” 


Deborah Iden, Project Coordinator, Moniaive Initiative