Plan for Scottish co-op centre gets £1.9m boost from Lottery Heritage Fund

‘It will be a celebration of our heritage, a supportive resource for our community and a boost for local businesses’

A planned heritage attraction in West Lothian which will tell the story of Scotland’s co-operative societies for the first time has been awarded £1.9m from the National Lottery.

The community-based charity behind the Discovery Centre proposal says Scotland has a proud history as a leader in the development of the co-operative movement both in the UK and globally and that more should be done to celebrate it.

West Calder and Harburn Community Development Trust’s (WCHCDT) plan to redevelop a former co-operative society bakery in West Lothian has received £1.9m support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The support, thanks to National Lottery players, takes the Trust a huge step towards their fundraising goal of £6m to deliver the Scottish Co-operative Discovery Centre in West Calder.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund Director for Scotland, Caroline Clark said: “In keeping with the roots of the co-operative movement, this project has engaged with local people and delivered opportunities for them to get involved, taking it from an idea to a detailed plan.

Related: £6m co-op heritage centre planned at historic Scottish bakery

“The building itself is an important part of the heritage of the community and the co-operative movement. This project will give it a new life, celebrating and sharing the story of Scottish co-operatives and creating new opportunities for local people.”

Gavin Henderson, chair of the WCHCDT, said: “The Scottish Co-operative Discovery Centre project has been designed and led by our community to deliver what our community said they wanted: somewhere with good food for families to enjoy, a place which creates jobs and opportunities particularly for young people. It will be a celebration of our heritage, a supportive resource for our community and a boost for local businesses.”

Mhairi Goldie, inclusion and engagement officer, WCHCDT; Matt Pearce, Manager, WCHCDT; Caroline Clark, National Lottery Heritage Fund director for Scotland; Willy Findlay, chair, Scottish Co-operative Discovery Centre; Emma Peattie, Heritage Manager, West Lothian Council; Dr Susan Gillanders, Heritage Development, WCHCDT (image: Phil Wilkinson / WCHCDT)

The Development Trust also recently secured £550,000 from the government’s Community Ownership Fund and has launched a community share offer to give individuals, organisations and businesses an opportunity to invest in the project. The share offer, which will provide the last crucial funding for the Scottish Co-operative Discovery Centre, is being supported by Community Shares Scotland and Co-operative Development Scotland and has a target of £250,000,

The redevelopment plan includes the Scottish Co-operative Discovery Centre, a family friendly café, community and event space. It will also host support and services for autism and additional support needs.

In March 2022, The National Lottery Heritage Fund agreed development support of £218,800 for West Calder and Harburn Development Trust which has enabled the project to progress to this point. In January 2023m the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund made a £1.4m commitment.

“We are so close now to making this happen,” said project manager Matt Pearce, “We just need to raise the final amounts needed to make it the best it can be and deliver all these benefits locally and nationally. We really encourage people and organisations to buy shares.”

For more information visit the Scottish Co-op Discovery Centre website