LEADER investment - so much more than a building

Lisa Buchanan, Chief Executive Cantraybridge College

Since Highland LEADER investment of £150,000 in 2013 to create a new teaching and social enterprise facility at Cantraybridge College, the organisation has gone from strength to strength.

Specifically, it has opened up new opportunities to work with a much wider community than was previously possible. Schools groups, play groups, lunch clubs and cyclists are just some of the new clientele coming to Cantray Park café to enjoy a new visitor experience. Customer feedback shows that the environment being created is one that welcomes and supports a diverse range of customers and interest groups.

The growing market garden attraction has really helped to put our café on the map as the plant-pick-plate approach is really capturing the imagination of discerning customers who care about where their food comes from.

We’ve used it as a platform to engage with businesses such as Lifescan who undertake corporate social responsibility activities in collaboration with Cantray Park. It has also opened up further avenues of social enterprise. For example, it is supporting a new partnership with the Scottish Exotic Animal Rescue Centre, based on the college’s site, to increase teaching and learning opportunities for school children, exotic animal enthusiasts, vets and the general public.

LEADER investment was matched with funding from the Robertson Trust to create a new teaching environment. As the College strives to become a national centre of excellence in the provision of support to young people with additional support needs, the new classroom facilities have undoubtedly contributed to the ongoing success of our young people’s education.

For the first time in our 22-year history, we can now say that the North of Scotland has an excellent facility to support the delivery of post-16 education for young people with additional support needs and the team are very proud of the building’s legacy.

We hope the new building will play its part in creating new opportunities for hundreds of learners for the next 25 years.

Visit our LEADER section for more information on LEADER.