Big push for Tarbert Community Centre

COMMUNITY spirit is alive and well in Tarbert where big efforts are being made to fundraise for the Community Centre starting with a Curry and Quiz night this Saturday.

The Harris Mutual Improvement Association (HMIA), who run the centre, have launched a fundraising drive to ensure that the Centre continues to be available for hire to groups and individuals.

The running costs of the hall are proving challenging for the Association but they are determined to make it work.

Centre Manager Kate Langley explained: “The running costs of the Centre have increased substantially over the last 18 months. We are very fortunate to have Sir E Scott school using the Centre as an alternative gym while the new School is being built, but even this guaranteed rental income is not enough to cover costs, and in any case will come to an end when the new school opens in 2012. The facility is used by many local groups, such as the Tarbert Youth Cafe, the Harris Army Cadet Force and the Harris Gaelic Choir, and we also have Zumba, Tae Kwon Do and Aerobics classes in the Centre as well as concerts, ceilidhs, meetings, craft fairs and other events. Despite the current financial situation we have managed to keep the hire costs down to a very reasonable rate - for example the main Hall (with stage) is available for hire at £10 per hour, while the two smaller rooms are £5 per hour.”

Despite the local groups using the centre, unexpected costs are proving difficult. Last month the hot water cylinder had to be replaced and the Association are also in the process of upgrading/checking all the electrics to make sure they are up to standard - another big expense. Keeping the venue looking nice takes a lot of time, and Kate says they are lucky to have good staff taking care of the cleaning and general maintenance.

With all this in mind, the Committee came up with a couple of ideas for fundraising. This Saturday (April 30th) at 7pm a Curry and Quiz Night will be held at the Centre, with a licensed bar and a raffle. The catering will be done by the popular First Fruits Tearoom, and it promises to be a great evening. Teams can be up to six people but if you don’t have a team don’t worry, come along anyway and you’ll be able to join a team there.  Tickets are £12 adults and £6 children and are available from Kate by telephone on 01859 502726 or by emailing  A table-top sale is also planned for Saturday May 14th from 10am-3pm. There will be teas and home baking as well as all sorts of things to buy! This is open to all, and is a good opportunity to have a clear-out, spring-clean your cupboards and make yourself a bit of money. There are still a few tables left - if you would like to book a table at £10 please contact Kate. Another ongoing project is improving the lighting of the stage. This will make the Centre a more attractive venue for visiting bands and artistes, as well as for the annual school panto and local concerts. An application has been made for funding to the Co-operative Community Fund, and the Association should hear shortly whether or not the application has been approved. All in all these are challenging times for the Centre, and the staff and Committee are working hard to keep it running. Free membership of the HMIA is open to any individual living in Harris - if you would like to join the HIMA and become involved in decisions regarding the Community Centre, again, please contact Kate. Ideas for events or fundraising activities are also gratefully accepted.