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Dufftown community hall and local residents
Dufftown community hall and local residents

Making Dufftown Community Centre Fit for the 21st Century

Dufftown Community Centre (DCC) was built before the First World War as a drill hall. In more recent times it was operated by Moray Council as Dufftown Sports & Community Centre.

In 2018 it was threatened with closure due to cutbacks and in response the hall users formed a new community group and took ownership of the building in 2020, seeking to keep it open and providing for a range of activities and events at the heart of the community.

The hall is regularly used by several groups including Speyside Youth, Dufftown B.A.L.L. (Be Active, Live Longer) Group, Dufftown Small Bore Rifle Club, Dufftown Parent and Toddler Group, and Dufftown Scouts, Cubs and Beavers, and is also available for private hire.

The centre is well maintained, and various refurbishments have been carried out over the years. The Trustees felt however that there was significant potential to improve energy efficiency and reduce running costs. There was a range of electrical heating appliances – mostly storage heaters combined with a high-level fan or radiant heaters in some parts of the building. Energy bills for the centre were very high and the old storage heaters were not very effective at heating the building.

DCC commissioned a report from Zero Waste Scotland’s (ZWS) Energy Efficiency Business Support Service, which is funded by the Scottish Government to provide free, independent advice on energy and carbon savings. The report recommended the installation of gas central heating as well as insulation and lighting improvements. In addition to the lower cost of gas, a new heating system would provide the ability to adjust the heating far more easily, as and when required by user groups.

The ZWS report calculated potential savings of £4,280 per year through installing an A+ rated boiler, £500 per year from insulating the loft space and £150 per year from LED replacement lighting. The improvements could also generate energy savings of 4,340 kWh and carbon savings of 2.1 tonnes CO2e.

In December 2020, DCC was awarded £19,207.83 from the EDF Renewables Dorenell Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund to make these improvements, including the cost of a mains gas connection.

This award relates to the fund priorities of community halls and recreational facilities, in particular facilities for young people as it provides the venue for a range of youth and family group activities.

This project will bring significant energy and cost savings as well as thermal comfort improvements to a well-used community facility, supporting its long-term sustainability.

Amanda Stuart, one of the volunteers who helps run the centre, said:

“We are so pleased to have been awarded this funding. This will help a great deal by lowering the bills and providing a warm comfortable place for all user groups to meet. With the changes, over time we should have some funds available to invest in new equipment for the centre and hopefully encourage new user groups to join once the work has been completed.”