‘The com­mu­nity spirit here is great’

Re­port de­scribes Fern­hill res­i­dents as ‘ kind’

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.