Glasgow Against Closures group demand answers following re-opening of venues as ‘heat banks’

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Glasgow Against Closures has demand answers following a report which revealed that ‘welcoming places’ are reopening across Glasgow.

Following this morning’s announcement that 18 recently closed sites across Glasgow are reopening as ‘Welcoming Spaces’ (otherwise known as heat banks) - a community group which has campaigned for the venues to come back since they closed due to the pandemic - has posed a number of questions to the council.

Plans were submitted to Glasgow City Councils City Administration Committee (CAC) today, September 29, to re-open a number of community facilities/centres  as welcoming places, where communities can go when they are not able to afford to heat their homes this winter.

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Whilst Glasgow Against Closures welcomed the news that their venues would be reopened after years of campaigning, they also demanded answers from the council.

They asked if the venues would be used solely as welcoming places or if they will be open for community use, with bookable spaces, as the venues operated before the pandemic. They also asked if the centres re-opening with limited opening hours would return to their pre-covid operating hours - and if funding would be made avaliable to facilitate the former opening hours.

The community group went on to ask if help would be made available to support third sector organisations taking on the operations to ensure they would be able to continue. The report states: “There is also a risk that the third Sector organisations taking on a LTO are unable to sustain the operation of the venue beyond the period of transitional funding in 2022/23.”

Glasgow Against Closure also asked that the local people who campaigned over the last years, such as Save Ruchill Community centre, be recognised for their efforts towards reopening the community centres.

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A spokesperson for Glasgow Life said: “Following approval of the options presented to the Council’s City Administration Committee today, we are now working to prioritise the reopening of eight community facilities operated by Glasgow Life as quickly as possible, five of which will support the Council’s Welcoming Places programme and will provide a warm, safe space for people and families facing the challenges of the cost of living crisis this winter. All eight will be available for wider community use and we will share more information soon confirming reopening dates and booking details.

“At the same time, local organisations who have expressed an interest in managing six additional community centres are at an advance stage of the Council’s People Make Glasgow Communities process. When these organisations are ready, we will provide transitional funding from the £1.1m budget the Council has made available this financial year to support these groups with reopening their centres, where possible.

“In terms of Partick Burgh Hall, and Drumchapel and Barmulloch Community Centres, our intention is to reopen these venues from the end of March 2023 once they are no longer required by the NHS as vaccination centres. We will now also look to progress significant capital investment in the fabric of Ruchill Community Centre, which will allow it to reopen in the 2023/24 financial year.

“We would like to thank all of our let and lease-holders, community groups and organisations, and local people who provided feedback as part of our community venues consultation in recent months, which helped to shape the development of the options approved by the Council.”

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