Please Note: THE HIVE is currently operating reduced hours due to the Covid emergency (please see bottom of page for further details).
In November 2017 Moniaive Initiative started using a Big Lottery Fund Development Grant to progress a Concept Design for a proposed Community Shop & Hub project in Moniaive High Street.
Having established through an earlier Feasibility Study that this model could be sustainable in Moniaive, we completed an Options Appraisal on 6 buildings that were then available for purchase / lease in the High Street, and finally settled on Ebruchie as our ‘target’ building.
Throughout December 2017 and January 2018 we commissioned a series of specialist surveys to create a full Condition Survey on the building. At the same time our Architects drafted two alternative ‘Concept Design’ plans to show how the available space might be used.
The results of the specialist surveys unfortunately showed that Ebruchie is in a much worse condition than expected. This, combined with the need for flood mitigation works, pushed up the cost estimates for the project. We investigated options for reducing these costs, and drafted a reduced plan in our Concept Design Option 3. However, the repair and renovation costs for the building became so high that we were advised that even this reduced plan would still be too expensive to be considered for grant support, especially given the smaller community benefit that could be derived from the reduced design option. In March 2018 The Trustees of Moniaive Initiative therefore decided to withdraw from the Scottish Land Fund and Big Lottery Scotland application processes to re-evaluate our proposals and investigate new ways in which to bring them to fruition.
Through the summer of 2018 Kara Millen, our Community Hub Development Officer, re-visited our Options Appraisal and investigated alternative ideas and options. Throughout this period she was able to discuss ideas with local residents and community groups, including the Glencairn Memorial Institute. This has enabled us to further consider how a new Community Shop and Hub might be developed to ensure that it complements, not competes with, our existing community space provision in Moniaive.
As a result of this process, we turned our attention to the AMD Building in the High Street. In May we were kindly allowed by the owners, AMD, to run a trial ‘Pop Up Hub’ during the weekend of the Moniaive Folk Festival. This gave us the opportunity to showcase not only our own work, but also that of many other community groups and organisations. We received positive feedback on this trial, and were able to use it to consider in more detail how we might use that building in the future.
In July 2018 we were accepted back onto the Big Lottery / Scottish Land Fund programme, and were subsequently successful with our Stage I application. We then received confirmation that we would be allowed to use our remaining Development Grant to run a longer ‘Trial’ Shop & Hub, and were able to negotiate a 6-month lease of the building to enable this to happen.
In November 2018 we started remedial works to enable us to bring the empty building back into use. These included inspections of the electrical, plumbing and heating installations, and replacement of the broken front window. With the help of local volunteers we were able to clean and redecorate the building, to create a warm and welcoming space in which to trial a variety of ideas.
We initially borrowed furniture from Dumfries SHAX, and received further donations of furniture, paint and decorating equipment from local residents. Some of the donated furniture was ‘upcycled’ to provide interesting display space, including clothes rails and display counters made from the solid wooden doors donated from a nearby house renovation. In all our volunteers spent some 117 hours preparing the building for opening in November and December 2018, and we would like to say an enormous Thank You to everyone who donated their time and their skills so enthusiastically.
We submitted our Stage II application (for purchase costs) to the Scottish Land Fund in early December 2018. Then doors of our ‘Trial Hub’ were eventually opened in mid-December 2018, with a pop-up party for the Living Advent Calendar, followed by an Official Opening event. We were overwhelmed by the local support for these events, and have been heartened by the continuation of that support during our early weeks of trading during the cold, dark months of January and February.
Our Hub currently includes a shop-front selling locally-produced Arts & Crafts items, a shop alcove selling pre-loved clothes and accessories, and an Honesty Library and book shop. Our first user moved into the Therapy Room in February 2019. We now have a core staff of trained and skilled volunteers, and have been able to open for approximately 80 hours per month, including evening and weekends.
In early February 2019 we held a competition to name the Hub, and eventually settled on ‘The Hive’. Later that month we received confirmation that our Scottish Land Fund application had been successful: we were awarded £56,691 to enable us to purchase AMD House and carry out essential repairs.
The purchase was finally completed in June 2019. Since then we have been and looking at options for repairing and upgrading the building to ensure that it can meet our community needs for many years to come. We have started by stripping the paint off the front facade to allow the building to breathe again – thanks to everyone who has attended one of our Sunday morning workparties to help with this slow and laborious work!
Unfortunately in March 2020 we had to temporarily close The Hive due to the ongoing Covid situation. With many of our volunteers who staff the Hive being at heightened risk from Covid, we are unable to operate the building on the same basis as before.
In November 2020 we therefore opened on a limited basis, with shorter hours and fewer facilities (Opening hours can be found on the Hive Facebook page). You can still buy locally-produced arts and crafts: our Crafters Group are currently running the retail side of the Hive themselves on a trial basis. You will be asked to wear a face mask, sanitize hands, and socially distance within the shop. Our new ‘contactless’ payment system is up and running (-please bear with us while we learn how to use it!) We are also offering a limited selection of pre-loved clothes, accessories and books using an ‘honesty box’. The Library is open during shop hours, but access is restricted to one person / family at a time. We can accept only limited donations (one bag of books / dvds / seasonally-appropriate clothes only, please), and all donations MUST be labelled with a contact name, telephone number and date, to facilitate quarantining, for the safety of our volunteers. Jolene’s Beauty is now operating from the Therapy Room on Fridays (pre-booking required). Although we cannot currently offer any other groups or workshops at this time, we look forward to a time when we can resume our previous activities. In the meantime, we hope you will all take this opportunity to SHOP LOCAL for Christmas.
We will continue to update this page with news as our project progresses, so please do contact us if you have ideas or comments on how you would like our new Community Shop and Hub to look and operate.