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October 13, 2010

Fresh hope for Cadder Centre

Local authorities across the land are facing up to the dilemma of having buildings of all shapes and sizes that they can no longer afford to maintain or run. Some councils are working hard with the local communities who stand to lose out to try to find a solution. Others are simply shutting down local facilities with no options offered. There are no easy answers, but where there’s a will, there sometimes a way. Perhaps the experience at Cadder offers a way forward

Following news of the planned closure of Cadder Community Centre at the beginning of 2010 a group of activists began a campaign to save the popular facility.That campaign was successful and Glasgow City Council granted a temporary lease to allow a detailed options appraisal to be undertaken.  Supported by Cadder Housing Association who are using part of the building complex to house ’estate caretaker’ staff, a committee composed of local residents and centre users was formed to consider options for the future.  Meanwhile the local Area Committee provided £14,000 in short term funding.

Cadder HA has been given a licence to occupy the buildings and together with the community, and with the backing of the local politicians, hopes to come up with a long term solution in the coming month.

The Association is supporting the group who have formed a Management Committee.  The Association is also using the centre as the headquarters for the estate caretaking team and training academy.  This has freed up housing units which the Association previously used as a base for the estate caretakers.

Many people have made positive comments about the Association’s contribution so far in terms of maintaining and upgrading the building. 

Cadder HA Director Tom Sweeney “The Association welcomes the help and support provided by the Centre’s Management Committee and all of the local politicians respectively.  Collectively we are delighted that the closure of the centre has been postponed until the local community explores mechanisms for retaining a social and recreational facility in Cadder in the long term.  We will now be doing everything possible to help in coming up with viable plans.

However, the key thing is the support of the local community.  Amongst the actions you can take are: firstly, find out what’s happening at the centre and attend the classes and activities; and secondly, consider volunteering and help put on classes and activities.”

At present the centre is home to a popular OAP’s group and a well attended youth project and both these groups continue to be active – lots of youth activities took place over the summer holidays.  However, there is a recognition that usage of the centre will have to be developed substantially if it is to have a viable future.

The current centre consists of two substantial buildings; one of them – the games hall – is a significant resource but is in poor repair and there is also a serious question mark over whether it can sustain the level of use a facility of its size requires.  Cadder HA has carried out some remedial work to the building including painting of windows/facia, railings, doors, the front roughcast and also woodwork at the games hall.  In addition the Association has undertaken some minor internal works.

A management committee has been formed to examine viable future uses for the centre and North Glasgow Regeneration Agency has funded the appointment of a consultant.  The consultant will look at the centre’s current level of usage and its structural condition, the needs of the area and the scope for developing existing and delivering new services.  Their study will cover what nearby community facilities exist to identify potential competition, which could affect any funding being attracted.  The consultant would examine potential sources of capital funding and attempt to gauge the level of funding required to keep the centre operational.

Tom Sweeney, continued “Cadder HA is committed to exploring all options regarding the future development of community facilities in the area.  With the backing of local agencies like Cadder HA and North Glasgow Regeneration Agency and, more importantly, the active support of the local community, we can create a facility that will provide a range of sports and social activities right in the heart of the estate.

“There is a need for realism but there are examples of similar facilities operating successfully across Glasgow.  The committee and staff of Cadder HA are committed to giving this project as much support as possible.  However, ultimately the future retention of the centre in the long term depends upon funding being made available from external sources.  In addition its long term success is reliant on residents to provide the ideas, the interest and the support for a new centre.”

The secretary of the Centre’s Management Committee, Maureen Monaghan is optimistic about the Centre’s future.  “It’s early days but we’re hoping to establish a recreational resource that can be used by all the community from pre-school age to senior citizens.  The specialist consultant is looking at how the centre might operate in the future and we’ll be looking for feedback on those ideas very soon.”