Townhead residents' joy at opening of £2.1m hall

THE redevelopment of a Glasgow community has taken another stride forward with the official opening of a new £2.1million public hall.

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Townhead Village Hall was officially opened at a ceremony led by Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson and long-time local campaigner Betty Dougan.

A commemorative plaque was unveiled at the hall, which has proved a big hit since first opening its doors earlier this year.

Yesterday's ceremony marked the successful culmination of a 10-year fight by Townhead residents for a community facility.

Mrs Dougan was named an Evening Times Community Champion in 2009 for her work in Townhead.

During the event, the hall hosted a family fun day, with activities including face painting, arts and crafts, drama, music and a bouncy castle.

Prior to the hall being opened, community groups used to meet in the cramped basement of a block of high rise flats, in a local church or in the area's only school, St Mungo's Primary.

Thanks to the village hall board members, led by Mrs Dougan, the community was successful in winning the funding required to build a new focal point for the people of Townhead.

The hall, in St Mungo Avenue is already hosting several dozen groups on a regular basis and has welcomed more than 3000 visitors in the short space of time it has been open.

Among the groups using the hall are Glasgow Life youth clubs, Citizens Advice Bureau, Credit Union, Jobs and Business Glasgow, councillors' and MSP surgeries, drama, dance, exercise and taekwondo clubs.

Mrs Dougan said: "I am really happy that, after 10 years of hard work, the hall is finally open. I would like to thank Councillor Matheson for his hard work, as well as the many other organisations, especially the Big Lottery Fund.

"I am looking forward to our first ladies night and bingo in the hall. And I am also excited to see the whole of the community come together and use the hall for a variety of activities."

The new hall was built at a cost of £2.1m thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund, along with grants from the Scottish Government's Vacant and Derelict Land Fund, Glasgow Housing Association, Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, Hugh Fraser Foundation, Landfill Community Fund and Glasgow City Council.

Councillor Matheson said: "The official opening of Townhead Village Hall is a very important and proud moment for local people.

"This fantastic new facility is at the very heart of the local community and it will play an important role in community life over the coming years.

"Its opening will provide access to an extensive range of services, ensuring it will become a very important asset for people of all ages and we will continue working with partners to ensure it delivers in this regard.

"Townhead is a very strong and proud community and we have worked tirelessly together to get to this day.

"Local people have been the driving force behind this project and they will continue to take the lead in the future. That will be the village hall's real success."

Centre manager Paul Irwin added: "Townhead community identified a need for such a place over 10 years ago.

"This is just the beginning and the hard work begins as we turn the hall into a viable and vibrant community hub."

Local government

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