‘The community spirit here is great’
Report describes Fernhill residents as ‘ kind’
Residents in Fernhill have been dubbed “kind” after the scheme was part of a major study about how to combat isolation and how kindness can be encouraged in communities.
The report, The Place of Kindness: Combating loneliness and building stronger communities, has been produced by the Carnegie UK Trust who worked with a number of partners across the country including Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland who operate in Fernhill.
Findings included a lack of civic space in the scheme for people to come together.
It also claims the new community centre is “spacious, light, wellappointed and clean,” but “not as well used by the community,” as the old pavilion.
The report calls for a cafe in the centre to bring people in more outwith specific events. It was also thought residents viewed the new centre as “intimidating” while the fees were “costly”.
After speaking with residents, the survey states “there is a sense that people feel Fernhill is a great place to live, and people are connected and kind”.
Pam Dawson from Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland said: “Our kindness work in Fernhill has shown that most people don’t think of their actions as ‘kind’, instead seeing them in terms of ‘that’s just what you do here’.”
Other issues identified were the lack of outdoor space and natural play equipment, more new housing, use of the old Blairbeth Golf Club and increased free community groups, especially for under-fives.
People also felt there should be free access to the football pitches and free internet access in the community centre. It was also noted that Fernhill School offers use of space after school hours and use of their minibus at weekends and holidays.
Rutherglen South councillor Margaret Cowie was delighted the report had recognised the area’s community spirit.
She said: “In Fernhill we have brilliant community activists who provide a wide range of groups which are all very well attended.
“There is a great community spirit here. Everyone knows each other and if someone needs help there will always be someone willing.”
Responding to comments on the community centre, South Lanarkshire Council’s executive director of community and enterprise resources, Michael McGlynn, said: “We are currently installing public wifi in the foyer area at Fernhill Community Centre to encourage and support drop-in use of the facility, and better use of the open spaces, while recognising the need for internet access is key with the roll-out of the fully digitised Universal Credit System on October 4.
“In addition to this, South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture responded to requests which came via consultation with the local community and user groups and further invested in the facility by installing a gym and offering a wide range of affordable sessions for customers including casual pay as you go sessions and memberships with concessionary prices.
“The most recent focus in the centre has been the development of the ACE programme which offers a range of arts, culture and exercise classes for young people under the age of 16 as well as other classes and courses for the other sections of the community.
“Looking ahead, Fernhill has been identified as one of a number of priority neighbourhoods in South Lanarkshire where neighbourhood plans will be developed in partnership with local communities to tackle inequalities and improve outcomes in their areas.”
Everyone knows each other
Over £800,000 will be spent turning the site of the old Blairbeth Golf Club into a community park, the Reformer can reveal.
Councillors on a community and enterprise resources committee this week approved the proposal.
The Reformer first revealed plans for a park on the site in February, while the area is included in the draft of South Lanarkshire Council’s main issues report.
Three sections of the course are likely to be designated for housing when the new local plan is adopted. Councillors were told this could net the cash-strapped local authority millions.
But the main body of the course, sitting in a valley below Cathkin Braes will become a “low-maintenance urban park”.
A Friends of Blairbeth Park group will be set up to over see the facility and local volunteers will be trained as park rangers.
According to council officers, the creation of the park will create “opportunities to walk, exercise, cycle, allow field trips for schools, and provide planting to support biodiversity.”
It is also hoped the park will act as a link to the wider Cathkin Braes Park and could even support allotments for the local community.
Since Blairbeth Golf Club closed under the weight of huge debts in October 2015, the site has been plagued by anti-social behaviour. The demolition of the club house along with repairs has cost the council £87,000 over the past 21 months.
The estimated cost of the project is £871,555. Scottish Natural Heritage have already agreed funding of £326,622. The rest, along with the estimated £9,000 annual costs, will come from the housing revenue account.
Three sites designated for housing include the area directly adjacent to the old clubhouse, bordering Castlemilk, and another area across Fernbrae Avenue where the final three holes were once situated.
The third will be near the junction of Fernbrae Avenue and Burnside Road.
Based on 160 units across the sites, officers reckon the land could be worth £3.2million over the next three to eight years.
Fernhill resident Davy O’Neil, who runs the popular Fernhill Soccer School, welcomed the news but said he thought more could be done with the land.
He said: “It’s a bit of good news, but again something really decent could be created there.
“An urban park, to me, just means it will not be maintained. You could have had a pitch and putt or putting green there which would have been in keeping with the land’s heritage.
“If they are building houses as well they will be taking in a bit of money. A wee cafe would also have been nice.”
An urban park, to me, just means it will not be maintained
Kind Fernhill residents, pictured here at an event in the scheme last month, have been praised for their kindness
New lease of life This part of the old Blairbeth Golf Club is being set aside for housing
More Community champion Davy O’Neil feels more could be done