A LIFESAVING project to reduce isolation in Inverclyde has unveiled ambitious plans to expand into a new Greenock community hub.

The Inverclyde Shed has made such an impact in the local area that the group now hopes to take over an empty garage in East Blackhall Street.

Bruce Newlands, chairman, says they have applied to Inverclyde Council for a Community Asset Transfer under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.

They hope to secure a 25 year lease of the vacant building at a nominal cost of £1 a year.

Bruce told the Tele: "The council has a register of empty properties and assets and we were encouraged to look at that.

"This property stood out simply because it's a light industrial building.

"As part of the process, you are asked to demonstrate that we can put this to better community use than the council, which we strongly believe we can.

"This would offer us long term sustainability and set up the shed for the next 25 years in Inverclyde."

Inverclyde Shed is a workshop which aims to improve people's mental health and wellbeing by bringing people together to take part in projects to benefit the local community.

The proposed new base would be about five times bigger than their current premises in Captain Street.

Bruce said: "Our vision in terms of refurbishment is to make this the best shed in Scotland.

"We have also applied for £77,000 from the National Lottery so hopefully we're lucky enough to get this building.

"Our pitch to the council is to pay £1 a year for 25 years.

"It would be a lease rather than ownership, which would allow us to apply for funding.

"This is a community resource, a workshop that anyone can access.

"We would like to work with other community groups to grow this.

"We hope to have meeting space, a kitchen and potentially some offices, so it would be like a community business centre."

Bruce said other local authorities in Scotland have supported similar projects.

He added: "Other local authorities such as in Aberdeen and Moffat have been successful in doing this.

"Age Scotland are one of our supporters as the evidence shows that a £1 investment saves £9 in men's health costs, from suicide prevention through to mental health."

Laughlan Smith, who is co-treasurer of the group, believes the new facility could change people's lives.

He said: "This would be a dream come true for The Shed in terms of work space and having different activities in the same place."

Bruce says the group expect a decision on their application by March next year.