A COMMUNITY campaign was launched to save Alva’s Cochrane Hall from the council axe, while efforts are made to take the building into community ownership.

Thousands of residents gave their backing to keep the venue up and running, while a petition garnered strong support across the town and beyond.

The venue is one of many that could have its funding pulled as Clackmannanshire Council look to shave millions from its annual expenditure.

Generously gifted to the town at around 1929 by the founders of the Cochrane Foundation, the category C landmark sits in a striking setting in the park of the same name, against the backdrop of the Ochils.

It recently hosted a consultation on the council officers’ budget savings options which would see it cut, and Alva Community Council who were instrumental in organising that event, as well as its sub-group Alva Community Development Trust (ACDT), are determined to keep it going any way possible.

Chairperson Sandra Rees told the Advertiser: “Many of those who turned out for the photo on Saturday, and many who have commented on social media sites, are able to give testimony of the happy memories they have of events in the hall including weddings, dances, discos, etc.”

The hall is used by a range of organisations for a number of activities, including Alva Toddlers Group, Badminton Group, dog shows and obedience classes, the annual Christmas Fayre and the Hogmanay Ceilidh, fun days and other occasional bookings.

The Cochrane also serves as the indoor facilities for the Famous Alva Games and as a venue where the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service can take donations.

Sandra added: “Alva Community Council hope that elected members vote in favour of continued funding of the Cochrane Hall in 2018-19, but are mindful that there will be further budget cuts in years ahead.

“Clacks Council have proposed that the hall goes into community ownership and Alva Community Development Trust are working towards proposals to the council to ensure a successful transfer on a phased basis if funding is withdrawn.”

The hall in Alva is not the only community centre that may be escorted to the chopping block with venues in Sauchie, Menstrie, Alloa, Tullibody and Dollar all on the list for a £365,000 saving.

Furthermore, the toilets in the neighbouring Johnstone Park could be closed or removed along with a number of public facilities.

With 20 members, the ACDT is looking to become a separate constituted group with a charitable status.

Sandra added the trust is looking to arrange a feasibility study to see if the hall, as well as the toilets, could be taken into ownership through a Community Asset Transfer and “whether the project would be sustainable and a viability – not a liability”.

Many more volunteers will be needed by the trust and membership forms will soon be available at Alva CAP.