A CASH boost has been secured for a plan to transform a disused building into a community co-working space.

Sustaining Dunbar revealed proposals in May to buy the former housing office on Dunbar High Street from East Lothian Council.

It hopes to transform the building, which has lain empty for six years, into a workspace offering “inspiration and support to freelancers, commuters, remote workers, artists, businesses, social enterprises and community groups” in and around the town.

The plan is a step closer after being awarded £8,640 from the Scottish Land Fund.

Sustaining Dunbar claims the project could add £800,000 a year to the local economy.

Osbert Lancaster, development officer, told the Courier: “The building has been standing empty for some time.

“Until we know the full condition of the building and cost of remedial work and refurbishment, we don’t know if the project will be financially viable. This grant will let us engage an architect to assess the building and estimate the costs.”

Sustaining Dunbar, formed in 2008, is a community development trust and charity. It aims to bring people together to create practical projects across the Dunbar and East Linton area that improve quality of life, support the local economy, and enhance the natural environment.

Mr Lancaster added: “If we can make it happen, it should be a win-win all round.

“Not only will it be great for the people using the co-working centre, it will bring more people and more trade to High Street and boost the local economy.

“A study we commissioned suggests it will add between £600,000 and £800,000 to the area each year. And profits from the operation will be invested in practical support for local community groups and social enterprises.”

Jo McNamara, chairwoman of Sustaining Dunbar, felt the funding boost was “a significant step towards our vision of developing something really special in Dunbar”.

She added: “While creating more workspace is essential for the area, what’s truly exciting is the way co-working spaces like this can bring people together – to share ideas, to collaborate and to build a stronger community.”

For more information, go to coworkingdunbar.com