New community hub sets the pace

Social Justice minister Alex Neil toured the site of the new community centre.
Social Justice minister Alex Neil toured the site of the new community centre.

An £8million project with the working title “Cumbernauld Community Enterprise Centre” is being flagged as a beacon for social endeavour.

Cabinet secretary for social justice Alex Neil paid an official visit to its Brown Road construction site to admire the emerging structure of the revamped and much-expanded Muirfield Centre – and used it to advertise the grant fund which is making it all possible.

When the new centre opens next year it will cater for a wide range of community groups and services, from Women’s Aid to Kilsyth unemployed workers, and will also aim to act as a vibrant and easily-accessible hub for small businesses.

Underpinning the scheme is cash backing to the tune of £4 million from the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF) – which, Mr Neil pointed out, has been reopened and is again receiving applications.

At the old community centre beside the project’s building site, he said: “This is a wonderful example of the one of the many projects the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund is helping to deliver.

“This centre is expected to create 74 new jobs, as well as supporting 59 in the construction sector and 60 existing jobs in the community centre, showing the grant will deliver social and economic benefits beyond the new building itself.”

He went on to say the Cumbernauld project is the sort of scheme which is “absolutely key” to stimulating economic growth across Scotland.

At the same time it can aim to tackle inequality in disadvantaged communities.

North Lanarkshire Council’s regeneration convener, Councillor David Fagan, said: “The Cumbernauld Community Enterprise Centre is an innovative scheme to provide modern up-to-date office facilities for voluntaryc and social enterprise groups, new business start-ups and other local companies combined with high quality meeting and activity space for use by communities and community groups.

“When completed and landscaped, it will be a real showpiece for the residents in Cumbernauld and a superb successor to the Muirfield Centre, which served the community well for many years but was ripe for closure and replacement.”

Among others singing the scheme’s praises was Brian McQuade, Scotland and north-east England boss of key contractor Kier Construction, who predicted the finished centre will benefit thousands of people in Cumbernauld and surrounding areas.

He added: “The development will also generate a valuable boost to the local economy by providing employment opportunities for local construction businesses and apprentices throughout the build period.”