The early autumn of 2011 saw a significant moment in the Club’s history when an extension to our Clubroom was completed. This extension increased the available space within the Club by almost 50% and was made possible with a grant from Awards for All Scotland.
For some time the Club had been ‘bursting at the seams’ and it was difficult to find the space to carry out various projects. In particular there was a desire to set up a Junior Section within the Club; like many Clubs children of members could come along but we were aware that there was an interest from other youngsters with no Club connection to which we wished to respond. However given the tightness of our existing accommodation it was not possible as there would have been no facilities or space for them to work which would not have helped stimulate their interest. In addition we were acquiring a number of new members some with modelling experience but others without and we wanted to be able to respond to their needs as well.
There was only one thing to do and that was to expand the accommodation to match our expanding needs. Accordingly in 2009 plans were drawn up, submitted and approved by Moray Council and then an application was made to Awards for All for support and we were delighted to be awarded the sum of £10,000 in 2010. Projects supported by Awards for All have to be completed within one year so work had to get started quickly. A local contractor quickly had the dwarf walls for the foundations in place and then another contractor set to constructing the shell of the building. The biggest problem was that the winter of 2010-11 was the harshest for a long time with snow and frost covering the ground for many weeks which significantly delayed progress. However by early spring the shell was up, wind and watertight with a link to our existing Clubroom.
Now the members moved in. Not to model yet but to fit electrics, insulation, walls, ceiling and flooring, using what seemed like thousands of screws and gallons of paint! The opportunity was also taken at this time to carry out some refurbishment work on the existing Clubrooms by moving some cupboards and benches, carry out some repairs and give everything a fresh coat of paint. Work was completed with two weeks to spare of the completion of the year from the date of the awarding of the grant and we were able to ‘move in’ in the late summer of 2011.
So what has the extension done for the Club? Well apart from the extra space, the extension has a work bench along one wall for carrying out small scale modelling and construction, there is a small library and a monitor linked to a DVD player. The extra space meant that we were able to carry out more modelling projects, specifically the construction of a large N gauge layout “Twin Rivers” with which we took to ModelRail in Glasgow in February of 2012. As this was mostly carried out in the extension we have been able to give space over to the revision of our 0 Gauge layout “Cragganmore” and following the sale of our previous 00 layout “Bealing” we have started on the construction of a new layout “Strathheldon” so it will be possible to have layouts up and running in all three gauges within the Club.
This has come along with a further increase in membership and the establishment of the Junior Section which now regularly meets on a Sunday afternoon. The Club had fallen heir to an engine shed layout which required development and this has allowed the Juniors to work on their own project, learning the skills of modelling and running a layout, helping at our own exhibition but also with one of the Juniors coming to assist at ModelRail in Glasgow.
The Junior section has also been generously supported by ModelRail with the donation of a set of ‘Right Track’ videos which are used for instruction and from Peco in the provision of various kits allowing them to develop their skills in that way as well.
However without the generous support from Awards for All Scotland none of it would have been possible and we are extremely grateful to them.
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