Maybole Parish Church is part of the Church of Scotland.
Maybole dates from the 12th century and its Collegiate Church, now in the care of Historic Scotland, Dates from 1371.
We became Maybole Parish Church in 2003 with the union of the West Parish Church and Maybole Old Church, and later, Maybole Parish Church was linked with Crosshill Parish Church.
The History of Maybole Old and the West Parish church can be found here.
Our Church is situated near the centre of the town and construction was completed in 2012.
Maybole Parish Church and The Carrick Centre
To understand and appreciate the relationship between Maybole Parish Church and The Carrick Centre you have to go back fifteen years to the Millennium and the Church of Scotland’s decision to create a millennium fund to provide funding for new and exciting church projects.
When we were awarded initially £300,000 by the General Trustees for our Maybole New Church Project and Youth Centre, this was on the clear understanding that our new building would be multi-functional and available for both church and community use seven days per week. From this concept it was our decision to build a Church and Community Centre, and our stated vision was “a project at the heart of the community for all citizens”.
In order to take the project forward we needed to secure external funding, and whilst some additional funding was available to churches the majority of external funders would not finance religious groups. We needed, therefore, to form a body comprised of not just church members but also members of the wider community, which could approach these funders, including Lottery, to secure the grants we needed to allow us to begin work.
The result of this was “The Carrick Centre”, which is de facto the church’s Outreach to the local community. Outreach is such an important part of the Church’s remit, and something incumbent upon every one of us to support. It was our original funding consultant, Peter Walker, who suggested the name “The Carrick Centre”, and who, incidentally, was responsible for securing the grant of £188,000 from the Prince’s Exchange Foundation – the grant which was the turning point in our fortunes and which allowed the vision to become reality.
The Carrick Centre is in its own right a registered charity and is also a not- for-profit company limited by guarantee. This gives its volunteer directors protection in the event of economic difficulty – not something we anticipate. The Board of Directors, which includes Richard Moffat, our Interim Moderator, also has, in addition to church members, community directors who are not church members. This, along with its community associations, opened up avenues of funding denied to the Church. One example of this was Alan Murray’s coup in securing Lottery and other funding to the value of over £100,000, funding which enabled us to fully equip the Centre and also to provide the much needed Audio-visual and Loop system for the Sanctuary and throughout the building.
The Carrick Centre and the Church are very closely linked. The Church owns the building, and the building is leased to the Carrick Centre. This is a 25 year lease at a peppercorn rent. The Carrick Centre operates, maintains, insures, heats, and lights the building, and covers all photocopying costs. This relieves the Church of responsibility for all of these activities. In return, apart from the lease of the building, the Church makes an annual contribution of £10,000 towards the running costs of the Centre, as detailed in the Management Agreement between Maybole Parish Church and Carrick Centre Boards. This is a very good deal indeed for the Church as it no longer has to think about all these different services and provisions. Indeed, without The Carrick Centre the Church would need to find circa £30,000 per annum simply to keep the building functioning as a church.
One can now see the effect of community outreach in the number of people and organisations using the Centre. At the end of 2014 there were over one hundred groups and organisations, not including church groups, using the premises. The number of volunteers in the Centre, and to whom we offer our grateful thanks, had risen to over seventy, almost half of whom are church members, and the increase in numbers attending church on Sundays had risen by thirty percent, with a consequent increase in givings.
The number of paid employees now averages eleven. Some of our employees are, for various reasons, considered to be “at a distance from the workplace” and we are able to provide both a sheltered environment and some varied training to help boost confidence, and hopefully guide them back into work.
A word now about the Management Agreement. This guarantees to Maybole Parish Church and its associated groups such as Guild, Bible study, Choir, Youth etc various uses of the accommodation, including, of course, the sanctuary, at no additional cost beyond the agreed annual contribution. Also included are single occasion uses such as the Guild Rally, Funerals and Weddings. The Agreement also provides for a proportion of any free end of year surplus in the future to be made available to Maybole Parish Church as a contribution towards paying off the outstanding loan on the building costs. A free surplus is one which is not reserved for a specific purpose. Lottery Funding, for example, is not a free surplus.
Bearing in mind the building’s multifunctional uses the Sanctuary space is at other times the Auditorium, or the Crossraguel Room, and so various groups will refer to it in differing terms in differing circumstances. To date a number of conferences, concerts, school events and fashion shows have been held there, many as joint fundraising events for the Church and Centre. We do, however, remind visitors that this space, despite its varied uses, is also Maybole Parish Church and a place of worship.
As business develops scheduling of spaces will become more complicated and it is essential that all requirements, including those of the Church, are routed through Karen, the Administrator, as soon as known, to avoid clashes. The success of the Carrick Centre is crucial to the continued success of Maybole Parish Church. As the Church/Carrick Centre Agreement says, “The Carrick Centre will operate as a partnership between the Board of the Carrick Centre, the Congregation of Maybole Parish Church and the community and public sector organisations operating within the North Carrick Area.”
The General Trustees are delighted by the progress being made by the Church and The Carrick Centre. They see their remit of a multifunctional building for both Church and Community being demonstrably put into practice. We would urge everyone to share in that delight, and those who have time to spare to volunteer some of that time, even an hour per week, towards helping the Centre maintain its position as the social hub of Maybole and District, and a Centre of Excellence.