THE community group behind plans to revive the former Broadway cinema in Prestwick has been given an early Christmas present - with the award of cash to buy the building.

The Art Deco gem on Main Street, fondly remembered by generations of Ayrshire film fans, will be brought into community ownership and redeveloped into a cinema, multi-purpose entertainment venue, and inclusive space that will benefit the whole community.

Ayr Advertiser: Broadway Cinema

The Friends of the Broadway have been given £328,060 from the Scottish Land Fund to buy the Main Street building.

Professor Guy Walker, chair of the Friends of the Broadway, told the Advertiser: “Bringing back the Broadway started as a dream held by a committed group of Prestwick residents.

"Today that dream came true. 

"The building will be owned by the community, and we are ‘bringing the Broadway back’ for everyone who said they would love to see films here again.

"Over the years people have asked us what’s happening with the building, and expressed their wish for something for young and older people to do in the town - well this is our Christmas present to you.”

Ayr Advertiser: Broadway Cinema

The Scottish Land Fund awarded Friends of the Broadway the majority of the purchase price, with the building's owners, the Buzzworks Group hospitality firm, contributing a significant six-figure discount to enable it to pass into community ownership.

The charity has been supported and encouraged from the beginning of the journey by Buzzworks and the business’s chairman Colin Blair.

Mr Blair said: "We are proud to support Friends of the Broadway and hope this further significant financial contribution will allow the group to continue its vital work in preserving this historic building, while creating an amenity for the community of Prestwick to enjoy for years to come.”

The Scottish Land Fund has also confirmed an award of £50,000 to the Friends for immediate essential maintenance on the building - and further funding for a project development officer to take their plans to the next stage.

Ayr Advertiser: Broadway Cinema

The Friends also thanked South Ayrshire Council for their "extensive help and support" during the funding process.

Built in 1935, the Broadway is a surviving example of Scotland’s golden age of cinema; a time when even the biggest movie releases were brought to local high streets to be enjoyed by all ages.

Originally seating more than 1,000 people, large parts of the building remain unchanged; cigarette ends still linger in the circle’s ashtrays, and the projection room appears as a time capsule, with reels and equipment in the same spot as when they were last used.

The last film at the Broadway was shown in 1976, and after that the building was put to many uses, including a leisure centre, amusement arcade, and squash courts.

But it's the Friends of the Broadway who will now restore the historic building to its original purpose.

With heritage preservation at the core of the charity’s aims, the building will be brought back to life in partnership with architects Burrell Foley Fischer, who specialise in the heritage cinema and theatre design.

The original Art Deco features of the cinema will be honoured, with new additional features that will ensure it is accessible and convenient for modern day visitors.

With the funding confirmed, the next phase of planning and development can now begin.

The Friends opened the doors of the building during the recent Prestmas Christmas lights switch-on weekend.

The funding news comes just ahead of the Friends' Christmas film festival, taking place at Prestwick Academy on the weekend of December 16 and 17 and featuring four festive film favourites - Elf, It's A Wonderful Life, The Mupper Christmas Carol and Die Hard.

If you’d like to find out more about the Broadway Cinema, the charity, or to offer your support visit

The Scottish Land Fund is a National Lotttery project to help communities across the country.

The Broadway grant is one of 11 totalling £2,381,927 across Scotland in the latest round of awards.