Sally is dancing on a dream project

Sally Marie outside Motherwell YMCA
Sally Marie outside Motherwell YMCA

A London-based dancer has revealed her dream to renovate Motherwell YMCA and turn it into a new community facility.

The Brandon Street facility closed in August 2007 due to a lack of funding and with owners Staffplus having to abandon plans to convert it into 18 flats it is on the market for £95,000.

Despite being in a sorry state, avant-garde performer Sally Marie can see potential in the 1898 listed building and is hoping to be able to raise funding in order to make her ambitious plans a reality.

She said: “I was on tour in Glasgow a few years ago and fell in love with the place and with there being nowhere suitable for dancers to train in London I decided to look at what was on offer north of the border.

“When I came across Motherwell YMCA on an auction website I could immediately see the potential and £95,000 for 12,000 sq ft is nothing really.

“It would be ideal to create dance studios and have space for residencies, I know so many dancers in London who would come up here at the drop of a hat to take advantage of a first class facility.

“In addition we could run community dance classes so local people can learn alongside professionals, however I see it as being more than just a place for dancers.

“I see it as a social enterprise for use of the whole community and there is so much fantastic space to use, I could see it including a cinema, a restaurant, a boxing gym and a performance space.”

Unfortunately Sally, who runs production company Sweetshop Revolution, can’t just click her heels together and wish her dreams to be reality.

She said: “I am an ideas woman, but I am not a businesswoman, so I would need to find backers for this project.

“I had thought about an arts grants, but this is so much more than just about art so I will explore what other funding streams may be available.

“Who knows maybe there is a retired millionaire in Motherwell who is a bit bored and fancies a challenge.

“I had a builder out to look at it last year and he told me the damage was mostly cosmetic and would cost about £275,000 to do up.

“However, having returned at the weekend it has really deteriorated over the last eight months, so I will need to get it properly appraised to see just how much it will cost.

“When you take into consideration the damage to the fabric of the building, rewiring, plumbing and a million other jobs then I suspect we are probably talking an awful lot more then £275,000.”

Motherwell YMCA first went under the hammer just over a year ago with a list price of £175,000 but with no takers the asking price gradually dwindled to it’s current level and will again go up for auction in six weeks.

Sally said: “There is no question we are in a race against time because Staffplus are keen to get their capital out of the building so it could be sold at any time.

“However, this is a project I passionately believe could work if the people of Motherwell want it and I hope others see it the same way too in order to restore Motherwell YMCA to it’s former glory and give it back to its community.”