A charity’s ambitious plans to create a purpose-built learning and development centre for deafblind people has come to fruition.
Work starts next month on the new £1.5 million Deafblind Scotland project on the outskirts of Lenzie.
The ground will be broken on the ‘Field of Dreams’ on Initiative Road at Garngaber Avenue.
Local dignitaries, funders, supports and Deafblind Scotland’s Board of Directors will gather with the contractor, Clark of Paisley for a special ceremony on Wednesday, August 17.
Deafblind Scotland’s Drena O’Malley said: “From this ground a new and exciting development will rise over the following months.
“This project has been seven years in the planning, resourcing, and implementation, ever since it became apparent that a long narrow piece of land would be available for social use between the new road and Larkfield Road.
“This will be a purpose-built centre which will be enabling for those who have a severe dual sensory loss in a way they have never before experienced.”
Deafblind people themselves have raised more than £150,000 towards the cost of the new building.
Drena said the support of major trusts has been invaluable in providing more than £500,000 for the new centre.
She added: “Clubs, churches, schools, and individuals across Scotland have run, abseiled, swam, and danced, all in an effort to raise funds.
“And we are not finished yet. On top of the £1.5m, we still have to raise the cost of the vital specialist equipment and adaptations needed to ensure deafblind people can fully engage with the centre itself, with the activities on offer and with the outside world.”
This will include specialist IT equipment, hearing aid systems which are effective, lighting which is adaptable on all levels, braille signage, and BSL interpreted information.
Landscaping the surrounding ground and car park in a way which is beneficial to deafblind people will be another challenge, both financially and in terms of specialist design.
This building will be a landmark achievement for Deafblind people in Scotland, and for the charity’s Board of Directors, 60 per cent of whom are themselves deafblind.
The charity began in a borrowed office in Barrowfield Deafblind Complex in 1989 with 66 members and now has almost 1,000 members across Scotland.
At the moment, the charity operates from a small office in Lenzie.