The President and Vice President attended the regular meeting of Monifieth Rotary Club yesterday evening (24/11/21) to hand over the cheque of the balance of cash in the MLHS account with the Clydesdale Bank. It was difficult to convey 21 years of history into that short time and explain how the MLHS & Monifieth Community Dream ended up being a Nightmare.
The address given by the President at the ceremony
The MLHS was formed in September 2000 by a group of people who were interested in researching, recording and sharing of information, relative to the heritage of Monifieth and the local area.
This was done with the support of the then Monifieth Community Education Department, and the group with a registered constitution became a registered Scottish Charity, promoting the education of all age groups, locally , nationally and internationally, by any means available to them.
Talks, trips to places of historic interest became very popular events, and the MLHS website was viewed worldwide and focusing on Monfiieth Past.
By 2002 with items of local interest being gifted to the MLHS it became obvious that it was necessary to find suitable accommodation to display them, with free access to allow viewing by the public at large.
With no Monifieth Community Centre, Town Hall, Museum, or similar building to move this forward, it was agreed by the MLHS management group to look for unoccupied premises in central Monifieth.
A property at 55 High Street, Monifieth, was vacant having formerly been a retail outlet, then latterly a charity shop. Although the condition of the property could only be described as being in very poor condition, the unpaid volunteer members were prepared to undertake the work necessary to bring it up to the standard required for use as Monifieth House of Memories, which was really a basic community heritage centre, managed and financed by the MLHS a non profit making registered Scottish Charity.
Funding came from varied sources , donations and fund raising events by MLHS, were the main source of income to provide many varied public services, which generated the House of Memories into becoming a tourist attraction, with thousands of local, national and international visitors of all age groups.
Over the years it became apparent that the leased property, due to lack of owner maintenance, and the costs to MLHS to keep the premises habitable for public use, it was necessary to find alternative suitable accommodation.
In 2018 the condition of the building had deteriorated to the stage when considered to be a health and safety hazard, and closed to the public, while the search for premises continued.
Angus Council Access Office at 81 High Street, which also housed a Police Office, was unoccupied. The MLHS approached Angus Council, declaring their interest in the building, and with community backing made application for a Community Asset Transfer Lease of the property in February 2018 to establish a Monifieth Community Heritage Centre. The transfer was agreed in October 2018.
Conditions at the 55 High Street property had become so critical, with items being destroyed with damp , mould and water an agreement was reached with Angus Council allowing the community property to be stored in the former Access Office/Police Office, until a mutual lease agreement could be signed by both parties. It was also agreed the MLHS could use this as their official address.
The Monifieth Community Dream had started, plans were being made to move the project forward, however, in December 2018 having only then been allowed the key to the door of 81 High Street and moving the community property into store, it became apparent that there were others using the building .
With the ability to view the property it became apparent it was in need of maintenance, also MLHS were being charged for services, not used by them despite not being the lease holders.
Lease negotiations were on going. After seeking legal advice MLHS paid for an independent survey of the property, which showed the need for necessary costly work to be done.
The Monifieth Dream of a Heritage Centre had turned into a Nightmare. The lease agreement on offer by Angus Council could not be met or financed by the MLHS
With no lease agreement signed Angus Council notified MLHS that all property of MLHS must be removed and the premises at 81 High Street vacated and the key returned, 1st June 2019.
With no accommodation available this was done with once again the property moved, again at a cost, into store at Taylors , Montrose
2021 With no suitable accommodation, lack of members, the financial costs to MLHS mounting, management group after in accordance with legal advice it was agreed following public notice the items loaned to the group would be returned on application to a solicitor with the remaining gifted articles auctioned by Taylors to offset the costs of many years met by MLHS who served the community voluntarily from 2000, all in accordance with their constitution and OSCR regulations.
Unanimously agreement being that any remaining money left after all debts were met should be donated to Monifieth Rotary Trust fund , with the understanding it would be used to continue in some form to educate the importance of local heritage to the younger generations of Monifieth.
Our treasurer will now give you the cheque.