Glasgow Life gives green light to reopen Ruchill Community Center

Campaigners celebrate after council bosses approved funding to save a vital community center in one of Glasgow’s most deprived areas.

Members of the Save Ruchill Community Center group say they are “delighted” the much-loved building is finally safe after receiving £262,000 to renovate the property and bring it back into use.

The Bilsland Drive center has been closed since March 2020 when it was closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The failure to reopen as restrictions eased sparked a brave campaign backed by Labor politicians Robert Mooney, Fiona Higgins and Paul Sweeney to have it reinstated.

The group’s fate has also received support from the Glasgow Times’ Save Our Venues campaign.

The fight continued for two years and involved weekly protests in a bid to pressure Glasgow Life into a U-turn.

Activist Paula Dixon has been at the heart of the fight to revive the center and hailed the news as a victory for people power.

Glasgow Times: Paula Dixon with activistsPaula Dixon with activists (Picture: NewsQuest)

She said: “We are delighted that the funding has finally been approved and it just goes to show that determination, hard work and refusing to take no for an answer can pay off.

“It has been incredible teamwork and I would also like to thank The Glasgow Times for their fantastic support throughout our campaign. The title has helped give us a platform and a voice and we are truly grateful for that support.

“It’s a huge relief to have the funding approved and now we can start repairing the center and reopening it as soon as possible.

“It’s a lifeline for so many people in Ruchill. People here were desperate to see the doors open again and now we can finally declare victory.”

We’ve already explained how Glasgow City Council’s budget for this year included £1.1million for the reopening of community facilities, and Glasgow Life have put forward a proposal for Ruchill which has now been approved by the board of the town of the council.

Glasgow Times: NewsQuestnewsquest (Picture: NewsQuest)

Councilor Mooney said: ‘This is fantastic news and the tireless campaign by locals to protect the site has paid off.

“I have supported this campaign from the start – this news will be so welcomed in the region. The center is the heart of Ruchill and it was vital to get it back up and running.”

MSP Sweeney added: “The announcement is long overdue for the people of the Save Ruchill Community Center Group who have campaigned tirelessly over recent months to send a message to Glasgow City Council that they will not sit idly by. while the center is closed.

Councilor Higgins said: “I am absolutely delighted that following the passionate campaign by the Ruchill community, Glasgow Life has given the green light for the center to reopen. I am so proud to continue to support those in this region who have fought so hard for this.

Paula said those battling the cost of living and rising fuel bills need lifesaving support, and therefore calls for the building to be reopened as soon as possible.

She said: “That’s why this decision is so important. The community center here is so much more than a meeting place for people and clubs, it’s a vital resource in every way. If we can do with repairs as a priority, it can serve as a warm hub and food bank for the vulnerable at the most difficult time of the year for many.

“A lot of people in this community will have to choose between heating and eating this winter. We’d like to see the doors open as soon as possible so we can provide shelter for those in need.”

Glasgow Times: NewsQuestnewsquest (Picture: NewsQuest)

Glasgow Labor Culture spokeswoman Patricia Ferguson also welcomed the news.

She said: ‘I am delighted that after a fierce community campaign by residents, the labor movement and local councilors, Ruchill Community Center will be refurbished.

The local authority meeting also gave the go-ahead for venues such as the Couper Institute and Pollokshields Community Center to reopen.

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