Too many people use the word 'unique'. But Cockenzie House & Gardens is just that! In one of Scotland's last Jacobite mansions - a disused nursing home- we have created, as the community wanted, 46 studios for small businesses, two self-catering cottages, meeting places, a cafe and a community museum where our area's mining, fising, agricultural, social (including women, so often forgotten about !) is commemorated. Where nothing existed before, 900 people visit us per week to attend an art course, a therapy class, visit the cafe, staycate and or just relax in our beautiful listed gardens.
A group of determined locals decided that Cockenzie House, Cockenzie & Port Seton's last historic icon (all the others have been demolished) should not be converted into flats. After a couple of glasses of wine too many, we asked the owner if we could rent the house for 6 months as a trial. Soon we knew that we had a viable operation. But that was the easy part. Since 2013 Cockenzie House & Gardens (CH & G) has : - had to make sure our operations covered all our costs. It did and it still down. Last year, despite COVID, we created a surpuse of £46,000. Funders would not back a new group that rented, not owned the House! - learned the hard way how to manage a 400 year old buidling according to the regulations - engaged the community. We have high walls and thick trees. Many remember clambering over walls to pick apples as children. Now they visit regularly for coffee, cake, learning and parties - a serious fraud. But with careful management and the determination of the team and some ardent locals we repaid all our debts and now report a surplus of £46,000 - COVID lockdowns. All our events were cancelled in 10 minutes and many of our small businesses struggled painfully. We thought our small businesses would go under. We provided repayment options. They survived. We opened the gardens. People thanked us because they felt 'normal again'.