PLANS to bring a much-loved building in Kilbirnie back into use have been given a major boost by the award of £50,000 in grant funding.

Radio City Association, a charity and community development company based in the Garnock Valley, has received an award of £50,000 from the Magnox Socio-Economic Scheme to redevelop the Knox Institute building in the town centre.

The funding boost comes just in time to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the opening of the totemic building by notable local industrialist Robert William Knox, who erected it as a philanthropic venture in memory of his late father and bequeathed it to future generations of local people to enhance their educational and recreational opportunities.

Radio City Association has undertaken to maintain the legacy benefit of the building for local people in the Garnock Valley, and Magnox Ltd has contributed to the project as a way of contributing to the creation of sustainable communities around the Hunterston nuclear power station, which is now being decommissioned.

The funding will ensure the Knox Institute building provides opportunities for local people to develop their skills and secure employment.

Radio City Association also plan to develop community owned clean energy assets and re-invest any surplus revenues generated back into the area – just as Hunterston provided baseload, zero carbon electricity supply for many years to people and businesses across the country.

The funding will contribute to the establishment of a new community operated bistro café at numbers 21-23 Main Street in Kilbirnie.

Profits will be reinvested back into the regeneration of the Institute - as was the intention of the building’s founder.

The majority of the building has been derelict and disused for the past 30 plus years but the Radio City Association project will enable new training and employment opportunities, including apprenticeship places, help to regenerate the town centre of Kilbirnie and address issues of poverty through affordable food provision, as well as working to provide community access to internet facilities, helping to bridge the current digital divide.

Scott Wilson, community development manager at Radio City Association said: “The funding from Magnox allows us to take a major step forward with the community asset transfer project of the Knox Institute, regenerating the building which is vital to the area’s cultural identity and assisting the economic regeneration of the high street and creating new employment and training opportunities for local young people.”

Mair Jones, socio-economic lead for Magnox, said: “This year we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Magnox socio-economic fund.

“Our aim is to support the creation of dynamic, sustainable local communities and economies around our sites, and these projects will do just that.

“The funding will contribute to the regeneration of an iconic building near our Hunterston site, boost the local economy and provide training opportunities for people that will help them secure employment. We look forward to seeing the project progress.”