CASTLE Carrock residents are looking to rescue the heart of their community - and may need up to £100,000 to do so.

The Watson Institute first opened in 1897, and has since been the focal point of activity in the village. Now, the building is in need of renovation to keep it up and running.

Tom Speight is chairman of the Watson Institute, and spoke passionately about hall’s importance.

“I think the Watson Institute is the absolute hub and heart of the village,” Tom said.

“It’s the sort of place where whenever there’s a village event of any sort, usually the hall is involved in some way shape or form.

“A whole cross section of the community uses it.

“Poor people use it, rich people use it, people in the arts use it, people with babies use it, people who like yoga use it, so what’s really important is that it’s a cross-community asset,” Tom added.

“That’s why it’s so important,” he said.

But the building is threatening to fall into disrepair, something Tom is keen to tackle as soon as possible.

“It’s now showing a bit of wear and tear. There’s some cracks in the four corners. And we noticed the floor was dropping away on one side over the summer,” Tom said.

“It looks like we’re going to have to underpin the whole building. Which is going to cost a lot of money,” he added.

“We expect the repairs in total to cost up to £100,000. Because the whole thing is going to have to be underpinned, which is a big, big job,” Tom said.

Tom and the other members of the Watson Institute management committee will be officially launching their fundraising efforts on Saturday November 10, holding an event between 9am and 4pm in the Duke of Cumberland pub.

As they hope to be able to begin the repair works next summer, this gives the committee less than a year to raise the funds they need.

“It’s got a really interesting history as to how it was built and why it was built and why it was designed in the way that it was. And therefore it should be looked after and cared for and kept for generations to come,” Tom said.

There will be a range of events held over the next year to raise funds for the repairs.

Next year’s Music on the Marr, the now well-known annual music festival in Castle Carrock, will also raise funds for the Institute.

Tom hopes that the entire Castle Carrock community will rally behind the Watson Institute.

“It’s really right and proper that the community comes together to raise some money to help pay for these repairs,” he said.

For further information about the launch event on November 10, call Tom Speight on 01228 670054.