Feasibility Study

15th December 2016

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I am delighted to announce that The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety (ScotCPS), has been awarded funding from the Big Lottery Fund Our Place and The Architectural Heritage Fund to undertake a feasibility study for the redevelopment of the former Barony St John’s church building in Ardrossan.

We secured £8,556.00 from the Big Lottery Fund Our Place and £3,000.00 from The Architectural Heritage Fund through their Project Viability Grant Scheme.

The funding will enable us to engage consultants and building professionals to undertake a condition survey, development study and options appraisal which will provide my charity with:

  • A business plan;
  • Indicative capital & revenue costs;
  • Analysis of strategic business opportunities;
  • Assessment of and report on the asset/fabric of the church building;
  • And an outline development cost appraisal and a final report with recommendations.

If the redevelopment of this Category B listed church is successful, the number of people who will use the completed buildings will be dependent on the final option chosen for the redevelopment i.e. which option for the future use of the church building will be the most viable and sustainable in the long term.

Options which could be considered include an Events Centre similar to St. Luke’s (a converted church in Glasgow which now hosts live bands, weddings and functions);



Or the church building could link in with Ardrossan’s clipper ship and sea port history and become a Maritime Heritage Centre;

Or it could be developed into a residential dormitory offering bunk-house style accommodation and/or become a Respite Care Centre supporting the charity’s service delivery outcomes (we provide personal safety training to businesses and groups but particularly female and child victims of violence).


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Whichever is chosen, the main area of benefit will be the North Ayrshire Our Place area of Ardrossan Central and North East however this area may well increase depending on which final option is chosen for the building’s future use.

Some of the questions that we (ScotCPS) are looking to be answered from the feasibility study are –

  • Can this beautiful iconic building, the Barony St John’s Church, be saved?
  • If so, what could it be used for?
  • How will this benefit the community?
  • How much would it cost to save and convert the building?
  • Who will fund this?
  • And also whatever the options maybe, what is the viability for the long term?

ee2a15db-fa10-4022-a9b0-1d4478bb67e3-8944-000006d3f01ecdc5_tmpThe Barony St John’s Church also holds a significant position in the history of Scottish religious buildings. Built in 1844, New Ardrossan Parish Church, as it was known then, became the first parish church in Scotland to become “Quoad Sacra” in 1851 following the New Parishes (Scotland) Act of 1844.

This effectively meant that New Ardrossan Parish Church was not a civil parish, unlike all preceding parish churches, and therefore had ecclesiastical functions but no local government functions (such as educating parish children). This had been a requirement of all parishes under “Quoad Omnia” up until the introduction of the new act in 1844.

The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety would like to thank everyone involved in the application process and special thanks to the wider Ardrossan community who attended the Our Place Large Forum events and gave their support to this application.

Now we plan to engage with the community via events, focus groups, surveys and public consultation and we are keen to speak with as many members of the community from all ages and will be having our first event very soon with details to follow.

In the meantime, if you have an idea as to what you would like to see the church building used for, please get in touch via our email

Many thanks.

Check out our Exec’s blog

11th November 2016

Alan is our Exec Manager and he keeps everyone up to date with the progress of our Ardrossan Centre through his blog. Check out the highlights of his first year of blogging….

One Year On….

Our 2018 timetable

8th January 2018

It’s business as usual for us this week. We hope you had a great festive break and are looking forward to an energetic and fun start to 2018.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday at our Barony St John Centre is Muay Thai (kids 6-7pm and adults 7-8pm);

Tuesday is our Spiritualist night – pop in and meet Anne from 4.30pm if you want a private reading or 7.30pm – 9.30pm for group readings;

Thursday is Kids Krav Maga 6-6.45pm and Circuits from 7-8pm;

Saturday is Tai Chi from 11-12 noon.

See you there. ????????

Provost’s Civic Pride Awards 2018

7th December 2017

Every award we get nominated for or win helps us when applying for funding so please support us by nominating us for the North Ayrshire Community Group Award in the Provost’s Civic Pride Awards 2018.
You’ll need to mention what we do so you could tell him about our weekly FREE classes for the blind and visually impaired; or our FREE courses for the Black and Ethnic Minority community; or our FREE courses for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community; or our FREE one-to-one training with female survivors of violence; or our Personal Safety courses for school pupils – or even just our evening exercise / martial arts classes.
Please click on the link below and get voting.
Thank you.
Image result for provost civic pride awards

Residential Courses

26th October 2017

Our Centre in Ardrossan, North Ayrshire is a former church building which we are currently renovating. We are thinking of installing an accommodation area to facilitate residential courses – would this be of interest to anyone?
Basically, once complete, the accommodation area will provide rooms and a lounge area (which will look out over the beach and sea in front of our building) and can be used for respite or for people booking on our personal safety courses but travelling from afar or it can be used by other groups who just want to visit the area and participate in their own activities (Glasgow is only 45 ins away, the ferry to the Isle of Arran leaves Ardrossan daily and there is an abundance of water sports and outdoor activities on our doorstep).
Please let me know if you or your group think this is a good idea as I will collate feedback for funding applications.

Runner-up Best Local Charity 2017

12th October 2017

Last week, our charity won the “Runner-up” silver salva trophy in West FM’s Cream of Ayrshire “Best Local Charity” Award 2017. This was presented at the awards night attended by Volunteer Executive Manager Alan Bell, instructor Michael McAllister, volunteer Emma Paterson and supporter Norma Baillie.
Many thanks to everyone who voted for us.


“Thank you”

25th September 2017

A huge “Thank you” to everyone who took part in and raised money for us during our sponsored Titan Crane abseil. We raised a total of £1,728.16   

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Also, a huge “Thank you” to David Wilson who raised money for our charity by running in the Millport 10mile race. Not only did he finish the race in an amazing 1hr 5mins, he managed to raise £80 for us too.

Image may contain: 1 person, shoes, child and outdoorWe are extremely grateful to everyone who donated money to us – thank you.  

These funds will allow us to provide FREE OF CHARGE weekly Personal Safety courses in our Barony St. John Centre in Ardrossan for people with low or no vision.

If you would like to come along, it’s on every Thursday 11am – 12.15pm in Ardrossan and also every Friday 2pm – 3pm in the Forth Valley Sensory Centre in Falkirk.

Thanks again.

Titan Crane Abseil Sunday 10th September

3rd September 2017

Ok folks, only one week to go and 9 of our supporters will be abseiling off the 150ft Titan Crane in Clydebank to raise funds for our charity.

So please, please, please, click on the “Donate” button at the top of this page and sponsor us. All donations go to our charity and will in turn help us provide free personal safety courses for those who need them most.

Many thanks, in advance,

Alan Bell – Voluntary Executive Manager


Help us

2nd August 2017

Ok folks, now is your chance to show your support for us – 
Various events are coming up which we could use to raise funds – Race the Prom 10k in Ardrossan on 3rd September (cost £16), Eglington Park 5k Fun Run held every Saturday (free of charge), Clydebank Titan Crane abseil (150ft) costs £50 per person if booked for Sunday 10th September?
If you fancy participating in any of these events and raising money for us – or another upcoming event, please let us know and we will get you a sponsorship form.
All you need to do is raise more than the cost of the event.
All proceeds will go to our charity helping us make much needed repairs to our Centre and provide free courses for our clients.
So what are you waiting for?

Personal Safety tips for Blind and Visually Impaired

29th July 2017

Our Personal Safety courses and advice were recently featured in the RNIB Connect webpage.

Many thanks to RNIB, Martin Allen at the Forth Valley Sensory Centre and our instructor David Black.

Photo of Alan with his arm on David's shoulder


Top award for Blind instructor

7th July 2017

Patricia Gibson MP presented registered blind self defence instructor Michael McAllister with a top martial arts award at the Barony St. John Centre in Ardrossan this week

Patricia had popped into The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety’s charity training centre to watch Michael teach his weekly personal safety / self defence class for people with low or no vision and then surprised him by announcing that he had won the Martial Arts Illustrated Hall of Fame Student Award.

Michael began training in personal safety skills with the charity early last year and passed his instructor exams in September 2016. Since then, he has been working on producing a video of his self defence techniques and has been teaching classes at the Centre every Thursday since April of this year.

News of Michael’s success with his classes for the visually impaired and his transformation from a stay at home person to an outgoing teacher reached the ears of the UK’s best selling martial arts magazine, Martial Arts Illustrated, and Michael was nominated for their Hall of Fame Student Award which he then won.

Speaking at the presentation, Michael McAllister commented; “I am completely stunned and over the moon to have received this award. It’s seems only a short time ago that I was scared to walk alone at night and jumping at any perceived threat or raised voice. Being visually impaired turned me into a bit of a recluse and on a social level, I felt limited and emasculated by my disability.

Now I walk tall, I move with confidence and I know that I can handle any aggressor should I be confronted. Sometimes just knowing that, is all I need to stop myself feeling vulnerable. Only last week I was on the train from Ardrossan to Glasgow and a group of youths started calling me names and throwing papers at me because I am blind. Before I would have been reduced to tears but now I can control my anxiety and fear and remain calm, using my voice to ask them to leave me alone.”

Alan Bell, Executive Manager and Principal Trainer of The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety, commented; “All of our instructors have their qualifications ratified through the British Martial Arts and Boxing Association and The Martial Arts Illustrated magazine is the largest martial arts magazine in the UK so to get a Student Award from them is very prestigious and a great honour, not only for Michael but for myself as his instructor. It’s a proud day for all of us and I am delighted that our local MP, Patricia Gibson could come along to present Michael with his award.”