High Kirk Community Project

A transformation of the church in a way that meet the needs of the community

High Kirk Community Project

Further to a restructuring of the local parishes and the formation of the Cowal Kirk, the High Kirk Church in Dunoon was identified for closure. Having formulated an ambitious and exciting Mission Plan, the Cowal Kirk looked in more detail as to how it could be delivered throughout the community.

Back in 2006 the High Kirk had looked to transform into a multi-purpose facility and therefore the idea came to re-visit these plans and look at how the High Kirk building could be transformed in a way that would meet the needs of the community and assist with the delivery of the Mission Plan.

Our Mission Plan focussed on re-engaging with the young people in our community and supporting the most vulnerable (all based on our parish profiles). The plans therefore look to provide eXp Youth Organisation with a permanent home with offices, activity space storage etc. eXp works across the churches of Dunoon and Cowal and has been running for over 10 years. It has been hailed as a successful blueprint for future youth work throughout Scotland. The internal space is also ideal to provide an activity centre for the 1st Cowal Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Association.

The Cowal Kirk at present supports the local Foodbank by offering space for the storage and dispersing of the food together with facilities for the Hub Grub to offer free hot meals to those in need. Thus the High Kirk Project could offer a real enhancement to the service both in quality and quantity by the introduction of a “Social Bite” cafe offering fresh and ambient food on a daily basis, a training kitchen, ancillary support and counselling services. Together with the Starter Pack Plus service who supply household good to those going into accommodation and need support whom we currently assist with storage and dispersing we can offer a coherent and combined service in order to make a real difference within our community.

Our plans include office accommodation for the ministry team and a small chapel area for private prayer and intimate services but with the ability for multi-purpose for meetings, counselling etc. Additional open space and small intimate spaces are available for community use for a range of uses.

The High Kirk sits within a conservation area of the town and historically offers a summer exhibition attracting over 600 visitors, working in tandem with the Castle House Museum next door. Part of the transformation looks to retain many of the original features and offer an enhanced historical exhibition of Christianity in the whole area.

A business case was prepared, submitted and accepted by Argyll Presbytery. The formation of a Steering Group is now underway and they will take the Project forwardto the next stage.

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