Community centre staff want to highlight the positive influence their activities have had after a Herald columnist questioned the effect that Lottery funding has had in Ardrossan.

Workers at the Whitlees Centre in Ardrossan were keen to “set the record straight” after reading Alan Bell’s most recent Ardross-man column.

The columnist said that despite Ardrossan receiving a minimum of £1.6 million for community projects from the Big Lottery’s Our Place programme, he could not see “what differences have been made”.

But Julie Gray, Whitlees Centre coordinator, disputed Alan’s comments and was keen to highlight the positive impact their Our Place funding has had on the local area.

The Whitlees Centre was awarded just under £325,000 in 2017, allowing the committee to improve the centre’s facilities to the benefit of the community.

A massive refurbishment of the centre’s kitchen and cafe area has brought employment opportunities and enabled the venue to offer new activities and courses. These include cooking classes, work experience opportunities for local young people, tea dances for people with dementia and their carers and more.

The committee also work hard all year round to bring events such as the fireworks display and the Gala to the people of Ardrossan.

Julie told the Herald: “I’m very angry about the article about where the Lottery funding’s going. We had a big meeting during the Summer holidays – a public meeting – and we told the community how much Our Place funding we got.

“We got £325,000 from the Lottery. That was to do the kitchen and employ five people from the local community, which we have done.

“It [the money] has allowed us to open for longer hours and put more events on for all the folk in the community of all ages.

“The centre was a dump, now we’ve done it up, created jobs, helped with foodbanks – we’ve done all kinds of things.

“All the kids come in after school and they feel safe.

“Nothing like this ever happens here but with the help of the Lottery we’ve managed to do this for the community.”

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