Community groups answer the call to help save centre

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KEEP fit fans and community groups are rallying round to support a centre which was recently saved from the axe.

It had been proposed to close the Iain Nicolson Recreation Centre in Chryston as part of £1.2million worth of cuts.

That caused a storm of controversy locally, with more than 1,500 people signing a petition and two public meetings held.

Last month the Herald revealed that North Lanarkshire Leisure (NLL) had decided not to close the Iain Nicolson Centre – which would have saved an estimated £60,000 per year.

However, leisure chiefs called on the community to support the facility to ensure its future remained rosy.

And it seems they have done just that, with a host of local groups and individuals flocking to the centre.

Indeed, an international Aikido course will be held in the Chryston facility this weekend (May 4-5).

Linda Hone, spokesperson for the Save Iain Nicolson Centre Group, said: “The centre usage has improved since the proposal to close it, I believe footfall and users are up in the last quarter.

“There are also several outside groups using the centre – kids and adult five-a-side football clubs, baseball, netball and basketball to name a few.

“The centre is very popular with outside clubs because the price is right.”

She called on leisure and council chiefs to make some “real investment” in the facilities and not allow the centre to be run down.

Announcing the decision to save the centre recently, Councillor Jim Logue, chairman of NLL, said: “We’ve listened to the concerns of residents and agreed to keep the centre open.

“In addition to this good news we will also be making new investments in the facility where we can.

“We are sure that the local community will be pleased that their considerable efforts in saving the centre have been worthwhile and I would strongly encourage everyone to make full use of the centre to ensure its long-term viability.”

* This weekend’s international Aikido course will be hosted by George Sandoval (5th Dan), of Chryston’s Thistle Aikikai. Elmer Tancinco (5th Dan), of Birankai International – based in California, USA – will provide instruction.

Classes will be held in unarmed practice, as well as weapons and Iaido. Visitors welcome. The event is sponsored by East West Storage Ltd. Thistle Aikikai hold adult and child classes in the Iain Nicholson Centre on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

PEOPLE POWER: Campaigners are pictured celebrating the reprieve of the Iain Nicolson Centre.

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