THE group that runs a popular community venue in Catrine is asking for local residents' help to take on "bite sized" projects to improve the building.

The Catrine Community Trust (CCT) has issued an appeal for villagers to come forward and lend a hand to carry out works at the A.M. Brown Institute (AMBI).

As previously reported in the Chronicle, East Ayrshire Council (EAC), which owns the building, has closed the main hall at the venue after receiving a report by structural engineers following concerns raised by CCT about the condition of the roof.

According to a report prepared by EAC's cabinet last month, CCT has been working with East Ayrshire Leisure on a plan for the building's future, and the investment that will be needed to sustain it. 

Cumnock Chronicle: The mosaic in the A.M. Brown Institute's entrance foyerThe mosaic in the A.M. Brown Institute's entrance foyer (Image: Catrine Community Trust)

But the CCT estimates that it will be a further year before funding and a programme of works is in place.

Despite those concerns, CCT says it remains upbeat about the future of the facility.

And now the Trust is looking for locals' help to carry out smaller-scale projects to help improve the building.

A Trust spokesperson said: "Most folks will know that the big picture with the A.M. Brown Institute is that this old girl needs a lot of work doing to bring her up to modern day standards and expectations, some of which will be quite major and/or costly, and it's going to be a long process.

"But maybe there is smaller stuff that we can do in the meantime that will make a difference.

"We've identified some "bite sized" projects for the building, and the ask is to see if anyone from the village could help us out and would be willing and able to take the lead on them."

Cumnock Chronicle: The building's exterior and bin storage areaThe building's exterior and bin storage area (Image: Catrine Community Trust)

The group is looking at relocating the secure area for the building's bin store, currently at the front entrance, to another suitable area at the side or rear of the facility.

It's also considering providing hanging baskets at the two sides of the buiding facing on to Institute Avenue, as well as planters in the secure area at both sides of the main entrance, and says the Loch Lomond Group, which runs a bottling plant in the village, has already agreed to provide two half-barrels for this aspect of the project.

Other ideas include refurbishing the external gates and railings at the front entrance to the building, repairing, reinstating or refreshing the mosaic on the floor of the entrance foyer, and tidying and planting of the garden areas around the facility.

Cumnock Chronicle: The mosaic in the entrance foyerThe mosaic in the entrance foyer (Image: Catrine Community Trust)

The Trust's spokesperson added: "While these are all fairly minor in the grand scheme of things for the AMBI, we do feel that they would make a positive difference to the general look and feel of the building in some small way, and would show that the old place is loved and not just getting left to deteriorate.

"We are hoping that someone would be willing and able to help us in taking these wee projects forward."

Anyone interested in getting involved can get in touch with the Trust by sending a message to the 'Catrine Community Trust'  page on Facebook or by emailing