Blantyre Miners Welfare Charitable Society
Facts & Figures
After 90 years of working for the community, Blantyre Miners Welfare Charitable Society’s latest challenge is to turn its recently completed, state-of-the-art Community Resource Centre into a successful, sustainable and income-generating enterprise; one that can continue to support its wide range of community activities.
Unincorporated association and registered Scottish charity.
Significant levels of earned income from the Resource Centre and Social Club.
Blantyre Miners Community Resource Centre, Social Club, Indoor Bowling Hall and 4 acres of land.
Roots & Links
Established in 1928, the Miner’s Welfare Institute in Blantyre served as a focal point for community activity and provided reading rooms, a playground, bowling greens and a range of sporting events and gala days. A social club was opened in 1960. The Institute supported the community through the devastating consequences of the local mine’s closure, and in 1991 changed its name to the Blantyre Miners Welfare Charitable Society. Ninety years on and the Society continues to provide the community with an array of opportunities, activities and services.
A Board of Trustees, made up of local residents; membership of the Social Club is open to all.
- local heritage group – developing an oral history project
- local primary schools
- Motherwell College – provides training on site.
- Business and social enterprise: CEIS; Scottish Chamber of Commerce.
- Community Cinema: Glasgow Film Theatre; Regional Service Scotland – Community Cinema.
- Employment: Job Centre Plus; Routes to Work.
- Local decision-making/funding bodies: Changing Places (regeneration body); South Lanarkshire Council – various departments.
- Regeneration: Coalfields Regeneration Trust; Coalfields Social Economy Network; Development Trust Association Scotland.
- Social Support: Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation; Backing Young Britain Campaign.
- Training and learning: Skills Development Scotland.
• The Community Resource Centre with a large state of the art multi-purpose hall – can seat 150 and be divided into two rooms; a large gym; three training rooms; three business units; exhibition and information area.
• Social Club
• Indoor Bowling Hall.
Builds Local Capacity
See the range of activities in ‘Delivers Services’ below that support community cohesion and community learning/training.
• Catering: provided by a private on-site caterer.
• Community: breast-feeding group; local oral history project with primary schools.
• Conference facilities: for lectures, receptions, events.
• Learning and training: literacy and numeracy; IT and hairdressing training through Motherwell College.
• Information and advice: Job Centre Plus (inc. job point); Routes to Work.
• Leisure: community cinema; social club.
• Sports: the Boxing Club, martial arts, bowls and aerobics.
Business units: within the Centre are being rented to a community care organisation.
1. Delivering the newly-refurbished Community Resource Centre: it’s taken great patience to consult with the community about what it needs; build the partnership-support; establish the £2.5m funding; and turn the empty shell of a building into the state-of-the-art community facilities we now have.
2. We’re still going strong after ninety years: since the twenties the Society’s been working for the welfare of local miners and the whole community. We continue to raise income and use this to provide the other ‘community bits’ that make a difference.
Developing income through the new Resource Centre: sustaining ourselves and staying afloat in the downturn until the good old days reappear is crucial. We’ve got a difficult 18 months balancing costs and income. We’re looking to development the Centre as a venue for both weddings and receptions – a unique package of hall and social club – and we’re looking to start with a wedding show in early 2010 including a catwalk and exhibition. We’re also looking to get our community cinema off the ground and bring in income by showing films twice a week, running theme nights and consulting closely with local people about the films they want to see.
It takes time: it’s taken around five years of work from start to finish to refurbish the Centre: we’ve needed expertise from outside at times and patience to make this happen – as anyone will know who’s embarked on a rebuild/refurbishment like this!
To finish the job we’ve started: the Board’s original plan was for a community resource centre which has successful facilities and is financially sustainable. We’re working to make this happen.
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