With thanks to NG Homes, I had the opportunity to attend the third Building Safer Communities study visit to learn more about Christie in practice. There was an overwhelming sense of community spirit and a high level of engagement from the community. Residents spoke about their desire for Possilpark to reach its’ full potential’ particularly creating an environment that supports young people to be aspirational.
It was great to hear from people with a real investment in the local community. Allied Cars, owned by the Facenna brothers, is the biggest local employer. The brothers were brought up in the Possilpark area and talked about their desire to give something back to their community by turning Ashfield stadium into a real asset providing opportunities for young people. They have invested £2 million and created a charity and have an ambition to do more to create a community asset that can drive inclusive growth.
One resident talked about running the local kayaking club which has become self- sufficient. Parents are charged a nominal fee and there is some fund raising which goes toward maintaining the Club. This has been a great success with around 30 children involved. The next challenge is to source an affordable minibus to take community members for weekend kayaking trips.
Some key points from the conversation:
Regeneration in terms of housing was viewed positively.
Lots of hairdressers, bookies, take-away shops. A lack of places to buy healthy foods – no supermarket.
Lack of accessible affordable facilities for socialising, getting fit – e.g. gym, swimming pool.
More summer activities for children.
There needs to be more opportunities for investment in local projects.
How do we make the area more attractive to private businesses?
Concerns about the aspirations and prospects for young people in the area. High unemployment and insecure contracts are barriers to their future career prospects.
Members of the community are keen to be involved in the decisions that impact on them. There is still a sense of a top down approach and that decisions are already made before being put forward to Community Council.
Need to do something with the derelict land in the area – children currently having to walk to school over derelict ground and discarded waste.
How do we get more connected? Avoid duplication and support projects effectively.
I need to consider how Building Safer Communities can benefit local communities. How can we ensure that this is truly an assets based approach? What is my role within Scottish Government to support Possilpark to thrive?