'Nowhere near acceptable': Campaigner reacts as Glasgow hub to reopen as 'warm bank'

'Nowhere near acceptable': Campaigner reacts as Glasgow hub to reopen as 'warm bank'
'Nowhere near acceptable': Campaigner reacts as Glasgow hub to reopen as 'warm bank'

A campaigner said the decision to reopen a Southside community centre only as a 'warm bank' is "nowhere near acceptable".

It was confirmed by Glasgow City Council today that St Francis Centre in the Gorbals will be used as a 'welcome place' for people to keep warm this winter.

At the city administration committee meeting, the council revealed its plans for several city hubs, some of which will be fully reopened, while others will be used to provide heat.

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The Save St Francis Centre campaign was created last week, as residents met to discuss their opinions and call on the council and Glasgow Life to fully open the venue by Christmas.

READ MORE: Five closed Glasgow community centres to open as 'warm banks' for heat in winter

Regarding the decision, David Green, one of the organisers, said: “Our feeling is that it’s a good first step but it’s nowhere near acceptable.

“The only acceptable option for the community is to return St Francis Centre to pre-Covid opening hours.

“We have statistics from Glasgow Life that show that the amount that it would cost would be a drop in the ocean.

“We just can’t understand why the council is unable to find in their billions of pounds of budget, the money to repoen it.

“As far as we are concerned, our campaign is going to continue and won’t stop until we have a full reopening."

Along with many other city facilities, the hub was closed due to the pandemic in March 2020.

According to a committee document, the full reopening of the centre would cost £5525 and running it for a year would fetch £151,359.

Save St Francis Centre meeting, September 2022

Mr Green added: “While it’s absolutely essential that the hub is being used as a 'welcome place' over winter, it is in some ways more exclusionary because there are people who would be using the centre for all kinds of reasons and will now be sitting at home in the cold and might not want to go down to the centre purely to keep warm.

“It’s quite strange that they are going to reopen the centre just for that and not allow other parts of the community into the building.

"There are lots of events that used to go on over the holidays, including pantomimes and other events.

"The idea that that is the only thing it should be used for is misguided."

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Residents vowed to continue fighting for the hub, and starting this week they will hold regular meetings to exchange ideas about the campaign.

Mr Green said people in the Gorbals will "find it hard to accept" that the venue is only partially opening.

READ MORE: Meet the Glasgow volunteers knitting blankets for people who struggle to heat their homes

He added: “This is the council setting an agenda rather than the community being empowered to make choices on how the centre should be used.

“The feeling is that decisions are being made over the heads of the people who live there.

“St Francis Centre belongs to the people of the Gorbals, it doesn’t belong to Glasgow Life or the council."

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Councillor Dr Soryia Siddique said: “The centre [being] opened as a welcome centre is progress.

"However, it is paramount that local communities' short and long-term aspirations are met and the centre is opened to full capacity as a matter of priority.

"The Gorbals is designated as a thriving place and the community centre is important for achieving positive outcomes for local communities."