Oban’s heritage story receives major boost

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Oban Communities Trust (OCT) volunteers announced the exciting news this week that they have been awarded £74,600 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, enabling the trust to progress its project, An t-Òban – The People and The Place.

The project, made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, is a community co-curated project which will offer a unique experience to engage with heritage.

Evolved and driven from the work of OCT heritage volunteers and the wider community’s desire to see history and heritage as core themes in the cultural community hub, the project will be delivered in the Rockfield Centre, the B-listed building that is deep-rooted within the history of Oban.

The project will offer families and young people a welcoming, interactive play and skills development learning space, that tells Oban’s social and natural heritage story through visuals, audio, hands-on interpretation and a full activity/learning programme.

In addition, the money will secure a staff post to support the project to deliver a much wider reach to the community, enabling OCT to establish not just the children’s area but also create a bespoke Look/Listen and Research space. This quieter space on the second floor of the main building will offer rich access to research Oban’s social heritage, family connections, school records, important local collections, photographs and heritage collections gifted to OCT.

The two fully-accessible spaces form the building blocks, but it will be the activities taking place within them which will inspire involvement of young and old in heritage.

Mhairi Ross, trustee with OCT,  said: ‘This is fantastic news for our wee group. We can now  really see the ideas all come together with young people engaging with siblings and younger children in a heritage space where they can discover and learn about the social history of Oban.

‘The Rockfield Centre has already unearthed many interesting stories and we are positive there are many more to uncover. The development of the dedicated spaces will not just offer opportunities to share and engage all ages at the centre, but will also enable us to collaborate and act as a natural hub to signpost people to all the other rich local heritage we have in the area.’

Caroline Clark, head of the National Lottery Heritage Fund Scotland, said: ‘An t-Òban- The People and The Place is a great project as it shows clearly how local heritage can be a catalyst for lots of different activities and bring people together behind a common purpose.

‘The National Lottery Heritage Fund is pleased to support Oban Communities Trust in its plans to enable people to enjoy the history on their own doorstep.’

OCT encourages anyone who wishes  to become involved as a participant, volunteer or a contributor to the growing collection to please get in touch by emailing: mhairi@therockfieldcentre.org.uk.

The doors may not be open yet on the main building but in the meantime the huts are open and everyone is welcome.