A TRIO of community halls in Renfrewshire will receive a makeover after councillors rubber-stamped a £1.6million contract award for the works.

Elderslie Village Hall, the McKillop Institute in Lochwinnoch and the South End Action Centre in Paisley will all get a range of external and internal improvements after elected members handed the contract to City Gate Construction.

Almost £800,000 will be splashed on breathing new life into the McKillop, while nearly £500,000 will be pumped into Elderslie Village Hall.

And more than £327,000 will be spent on doing up the South End Action Centre.

Improvements will include upgraded toilets, new floor finishes and redecoration, which will provide modern accessible spaces for community groups that use the facilities including dance and drama classes.

All three venues will also benefit from fresh roof coverings, and the McKillop will have solar panels installed.

Where it is required, replacement doors and windows, electrical rewiring, and new alarm systems will be put in place, and the McKillop and Elderslie Village Hall will both receive external wall repairs.

Councillor Andy Steel, who represents Elderslie, said he welcomed the cash injection, with the move contributing towards tackling the climate emergency.

The SNP man said: “I’m delighted to see this further investment now in Elderslie. Parks, roads, pavements and now the hall have all seen investment in recent years.

“Village halls are a central part of maintaining active and thriving communities, and they need to be kept up to a good standard. This work will ensure that happens. It’s great news.”

Fellow Elderslie councillor Jacqueline Cameron added: “This refurbishment will ensure Elderslie has a first-class facility for the future, and that’s important as I know how well used the hall was used before the pandemic.”

Paisley-based City Gate Construction is an accredited Living Wage employer and the approved contract includes a series of community benefits provided, including two jobs for people currently unemployed and a work experience placement.

The firm will also host industry awareness events promoting careers in construction and local traders will be invited to a supply chain opportunities event.

Work on the renovations will begin at the end of May and is set to be completed by November 9.

Lochwinnoch councillor Andy Doig said he hoped the improvements to the McKillop would mean Christmas activities could be held there.

He said: “Lochwinnoch Community Council and the many users of the McKillop are keen to see movement on this.

“The McKillop is at the centre of the village and a myriad of local groups use it, such as the elderly forum, yoga groups, and arts and crafts groups.

“I hope the renovation will mean a full range of Christmas activities should be possible in the McKillop which will be a great present from Renfrewshire Council.”

News of the works has been welcomed by community group Roar – which runs activities for older people from the community halls – and by the Kathleen Edgar School of Dance, which uses the South End Action Centre.

Roar project worker Anne Morgan said: “Roar Connections for life has been running a group for older adults in the McKillop Institute in Lochwinnoch for more than 12 years and it is a fantastic venue and the refurbishment plans are much needed here.”

Ms Edgar added: “We’ve been based at South End Action Centre since the very start 40 years ago and over that time, hundreds of children and young people have benefited from this local facility. It’s pleasing to see the centre getting this refurbishment.”

Elsewhere, surveys are being carried out at Steeple Hall in Kilbarchan to deliver a smaller programme of works upgrading this community facility.