Work to convert an unused space at Saltcoats railway station into a ‘training station’ for the local karate club has begun, thanks to a series of community grants.
The near £500,000 project has received funding, including £83,300 from ScotRail’s Station Community Regeneration Funding (SCRF), £131,711 from the Railway Heritage Trust, £50,000 from North Ayrshire Council’s Community Investment Fund, and £76,000 from Sport Scotland.
The new Shibumi Karate Club training station will see the conversion and refurbishment of an unused space at Saltcoats railway station to form a new, fully accessible community space.
The large multi-functional space will include the construction of a toilet and changing room, Wi-Fi network, and a multimedia screen and projector for training, local meetings and presentations.
The work is expected to take around three months to complete.
John Wilson, ScotRail Community Liaison Executive, said:
“It’s great to see that construction has started on site after a lot of hard work from the club and partners over the past 18 months.
“Once complete, the Shibumi Karate Club will have a fantastic state of the art facility which will be a great asset for the people of Saltcoats and the Three Towns.
“We know how important the railway is to the communities we serve, and we want to do all we can to strengthen and support that link.”
Andy Savage, Executive Director of the Railway Heritage Trust, said:
“The Railway Heritage Trust gives grants to restore, and find new uses for, space in heritage railway buildings.
“We are delighted to have awarded the Shibumi Karate Club grants totalling almost £135,000 towards restoring this historic building, and hope that it will help entertain and educate young people in the town.
“I look forward to seeing the gym open and in use. It will not only improve North Ayrshire’s built railway heritage, but also provide gainful occupation for young people in the town out of school hours.”
Councillor Louise McPhater, Cabinet Member for Communities on North Ayrshire Council, said:
“This is a truly worthwhile project that is helping to address the need for quality local facilities while contributing to the community’s health and well-being.
“We are delighted to support the proposal from the Three Town’s Locality Partnership to progress this development by contributing £50,000 via our Community Investment Fund and we look forward to seeing this historic local building being brought back to life and enjoyed by the local community.”
Hilary Cameron, Head of Rail Franchise Unit at Transport Scotland, said:
“The Stations Community Regeneration Fund is a prime example of how targeted investment to regenerate empty station buildings can help stimulate economic growth while bringing local benefits.
“I welcome work starting on transforming the station building into a training facility of this kind, particularly as we continue to tackle the ongoing pandemic and people look for a sense of positivity.”