Ardrossan Campus is a multimillion pound project that provides a new community campus in Ardrossan on the site of a former Shell plant. The project will merge the current Winton Primary School, and Ardrossan Academy along with a new library, leisure facility, public cafe and space for local authority offices and facilities.

jmarchitects were appointed by the Council to develop the plans for the site, and as part of their community benefits, committed to delivering support to a local project via the Community Benefits Wish List. A match was made with the Scottish Centre for Personal Safety (SCPS), who were looking for advice and support to progress a project at their site in Ardrossan. SCPS offer empowering and holistic personal safety training, particularly to groups who may be vulnerable when out alone. The charity has been keen to develop a community wellbeing cafe space where a disused lean-to was present on their site, but needed significant specialist advice and support to get the plans off the page and moving in reality. Getting the architectural plans to a level where they could be submitted for planning permission (and the corresponding plans from a structural engineering perspective for a building warrant) takes time, and costs “thousands of pounds – which for a small charity that offers its services free of charge to vulnerable people, is a huge amount that we simply didn’t have”, says Alan Bell, Executive Manager of SCPS.

The two organisations began working together in April 2022, with jmarchitects making several site visits and discussions with SCPS and their partners to understand the scope of the project. Over the course of a year, jmarchitects worked on the design for the cafe, eventually gaining planning permission in February 2023. They also brought in Blyth & Blyth, engineers on the campus, to offer support and advice to get the plans through the building warrant stages of sign off, which the plans passed in April 2023 – a year after the support began.

Alan is delighted with the outcome of submitting the request to the wish list, saying that “the whole way we felt supported and the team at jmarchitects were a pleasure to work with…once complete, our cafe will aim at reducing social isolation within our community. We will offer games, quizzes and fun events to help vulnerable people laugh, make friends and integrate back into our community again. We will help female survivors of violence, blind people, LGBT+ people, people with addictions and the many Syrian, Afghan and Ukranian refugees in our area to feel safe and welcome. It’s not just a cafe – it’s a refuge where we will focus on bringing a smile to your face and improving your mental wellbeing.”

The project has also been enjoyed by the team at jmarchitects, with architect Craig Mathers saying: “Working with Alan Bell and the team at ScotCPS to extend their existing facility over the past year has been a truly humbling experience, and we have been delighted to be able to support the expansion of their much-valued work for the community of Ardrossan and North Ayrshire through the Community Benefits programme. We have no doubt that the addition of a community café will provide a safe space for ScotCPS to extend their fantastic work in enabling all people to be able to live their lives with independence and without fear of physical harm, regardless of age, race, disability, sexuality, or gender.”

SCPS are now beginning the fundraising journey towards the £80,000 needed to build the cafe. If you have a contract with us and would like to continue the community benefits support started off so brilliantly by jmarchitects, in addition to financial donations, any offers to builders, plumbers, electricians, and other installation specialists will be welcomed by the organisation.

To offer support with the next phase of the cafe, just drop us a line at