Kelso’s Abbey Row Centre is refurbished

Ruth MacKay who looks after the newly refurbished Abbey Row Centre in Kelso.
Ruth MacKay who looks after the newly refurbished Abbey Row Centre in Kelso.

Kelso’s popular Abbey Row Centre has seen a major refurbishment, with demand for space from local community groups higher than ever.

The major schedule of works is almost complete and, although there are still a few tasks to be completed, the centre, formerly the town’s Victorian-era public school building, is once again open for business.

The refurbishment project, which saw the property closed for two weeks in October, included the installation of a new kitchen and returning the “coffee bar” to its original state, repainted and re-floored.

Management committee chairman Ruth Mackay says the centre is better than ever, with its range of rooms and meeting space being used by everyone from yoga and art groups to amateur dramatics and baby massage sessions.

“The refurbishments have made a huge difference,” she told us.

Although owned by Scottish Borders Council, all the work has been funded by revenue generated by the centre itself and, as Ruth explained, there may still be work needing done, but it is all dependent on cash from the rental of space.

“The number of people using the centre is growing year on year, which is great, but means we are getting tight for space and could now really do with more storage facilities.”

Meanwhile, the Cheviot Youth Group, which organises local youth services, is in discussions over the terms of a lease for youth club premises at the side of Kelso Ice Rink.

Group chairman, Councillor Alec Nicol, told us: “With the new high school site just along the road, the Cheviot Youth Group envisages working closely with the school on some joint projects.

“Although the main remit of the youth group is developing services for youngsters, it is hoped that the ‘drop-in’ facility for families, which were previously offered there, will continue.”