DOZENS of locals took to the streets of North Glasgow to demand the reopening of a community hub.
Ruchill Community Centre has been closed since March 2020, when it shut down due to the pandemic.
On Saturday, after it emerged that a private residential developer expressed interest in purchasing the site, local campaigners came together to call on Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life to reopen it.
The protest comes after the Glasgow Times launched its Save Our Venues campaign, with the aim to reopen community facilities that are still closed after Covid lockdowns.
Protesters, including members of Glasgow Against Closures, the Canal Youth Forum and other local organisations, carried signs that read "Save Ruchill".
They were joined by Fiona Higgins, Labour councillor for the Canal Ward.
She said: “The atmosphere was incredible, the sense of community spirit was palpable and tangible. People were so excited about it, I think it has really proved the momentum of our campaign and it has increased interest in it.
“We even had Queen Elsa show up for it, so word really has spread beyond the Earthly universe, it seems."
The Save Ruchill Community Centre movement started in late 2020, at the same time as the Maryhill Library campaign, which has since reopened.
Councillor Higgins said residents were told the delay in reopening was due to a lack of funding to cover the cost of essential repairs.
However, she claimed some of the works would not be necessary to allow access.
She added: "Ruchill is a community that faces many social challenges, there is deprivation there and as we know Glasgow is a city that is fourth-hardest-hit by the cost of living crisis and the area is one of the poorest in Glasgow.
"We really need local facilities because, without them, many residents have no access to facilities at all.
"We need local resources to help people in their everyday lives, especially now."
Hayden Atkin, Chairperson of Canal Youth Forum, said: "We were glad to attend the event which was hosted by the local community and young people.
"Seeing them come together and speak about what is important to them and hearing about all the memories everyone has of the venue and how important it is to all of us.
"The Community Centre is really important for local young people as it’s vital location for young people to hang round, it lets local community organisations run events, and youth groups.
"Young people in our community don’t have a place to go to and the community centre was a place that they could go and make friends and have fun. The pandemic has been a difficult time for all of us.
"Especially for young people, we are used to hanging around with our friends but that stopped that. Having a place open where we could all go to would be amazing."
A spokesperson for Glasgow Life said: “Glasgow Life has so far reopened more than 100 venues which were forced to close due to the pandemic.
"In its 2022/23 budget, Glasgow City Council (GCC) allocated a further £1.1m of funding to reopen community venues following a consultation and prioritisation process.
“A report was approved at a GCC committee in June outlining how we plan to undertake this process over the summer period.
"Any decision regarding the reopening of venues will be made at a future GCC committee meeting.”
A petition to save Ruchill Community Centre has now reached more than 680 signatures. You can sign it here.