HOPES are high that a new £2.5m community centre can help spark new life into a challenged area of Kirkintilloch.
The existing Hillhead Community Centre is more than 80-years-old and local people have long campaigned for a replacement.
When it is demolished next year, it will be replaced by a modern, well-equipped facility.
And that is where the local community comes in as they are being asked by East Dunbartonshire Council to say what they want to use the building for, what facilities it needs and which groups will need to be catered for both now and in the future.
The public consultation is in three parts:
* Six community representatives met with the building’s architects last Thursday at the centre for the first of four meetings.
* There will be a drop-in session, open to all, on Friday, November 23, from 1.30pm-4pm where the architects will be available to listen to ideas and answer questions.
* A questionnaire is available for anyone who would like to take part in the consultation. Copies can be collected from local schools, Hillhead Housing Association and from the centre itself.
Council leader Rhondda Geekie is excited at the prospect of a new facility for Hillhead.
She said: “The building is popular and very well used, but it is also past its sell-by date. I’m thrilled that the council has been able to identify funding for a new facility and that the families who will use it are being included now, at the earliest possible stage, to help us build something that can play a central part at the heart of the community.
“I hope as many people as possible will come along to the drop-in session or complete a questionnaire making their views known to us. It is only with their input that we can create a facility that truly meets the needs of the people it is being built to serve.”
The new building is part of a wider programme of activity focused on Hillhead.
New family centre nurture rooms have been created at Hillhead Nursery and Hillhead Primary, and the council is working with partners to tackle the issues surrounding employability and community safety.
Councillor Geekie added: “While this new building is very important, it is not an end in itself. The aim is that it will be a catalyst for change. It will provide an opportunity for a broader range of community activity and an important social centre for local people.”
WORKING TOGETHER (from left): Back row – architects Rowan Maclachlan and Rob Abbott, with patrons of the centre Robert Smith, Hugh Docherty and Jackie Peltier. Front row – council leader Rhondda Geekie, Claire Taylor and Jim Kennedy.
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