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July 10, 2009

Community housing body to develop major childcare facility

Community-run Milnbank Housing Association are a driving force in the regeneration of one of Glasgow‘s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods.   £982,000 lottery funding has just been awarded towards the cost of a new community nursery and education centre

A DERELICT East End landmark is set to be transformed into a state-of-the-art community nursery as part of a £14million revamp.The project led by Milnbank Housing Association could see the creation of a nursery and education centre on the site of the former Great Eastern Hotel.

The community-run association has already been awarded £982,000 from the Big Lottery Fund towards the nursery project, which forms part of a wider regeneration plan for the area and will involve the conversion of the A-listed Duke Street building into 48 social rented and 60 private housing units.

The community nursery could be built as early as 2010, pending the outcome of further funding applications, and would accommodate 75 children and create 28 full-time jobs.

Alan Benson, director of Milnbank, said: “The Dennistoun area has some of the highest deprivation statistics in Scotland, but Milnbank Housing Association and its committee have been working with other organisations within the community to address poverty and ecological issues in the east end including lack of childcare facilities, transport issues and unemployment.

“If the remainder of the funding is secured we will be able to take a significant step towards tackling these problems through the creation of a long-term community owned asset.”

The developers claim the new nursery will use cutting edge technology to make it eco-friendly.

Milnbank is currently developing an energy saving and efficiency programme across its 1161 properties to reduce carbon emissions by changing the attitudes of individuals and organisations towards waste reduction, energy efficiency and lifestyle.

And it has designed a carbon reduction programme for the new nursery to save 40% of carbon produced during construction and 80% in running costs.

Children from the surrounding area would also benefit from an electric mini bus powered by renewable energy from the building which would be used to pick up and drop off across the neighbourhood. The service will also be extended to members of the local community.

George Chalmers, project co-ordinator at Resource Efficiency Management, added: “Working closely with Milnbank, we have come up with a plan to successfully deliver an energy efficient and sustainable community facility with minimal impact on the environment which will benefit future generations in Glasgow and form an integral part of the wider regeneration of housing and related development across the city.”

Council Leader Steven Purcell said: “Milnbank Housing Association has done a tremendous amount of work to help people in the community through this project.

“Not only will it create jobs and provide nursery places for children, but it will also help change attitudes about the environment and energy efficiency, and encourage people to play a part in securing a more sustainable future for Glasgow.”

Alison Magee, chair of the Big Lottery Fund Scotland, added: “This is an excellent project with 500 families set to use the community nursery over a five-year period.”