Cabinet secretary visits Cumbernauld to see Regeneration Capital Grant Fund success

Alex Neil

A project to build a new community centre at the heart of Cumbernauld has been hailed as a success of the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF), which has opened for new applications.

The new Cumbernauld Community Centre, which was recommended support of £4 million, is helping to create and support jobs, training and community groups.

Cabinet secretary for social justice Alex Neil visited the site of the new centre yesterday, following an announcement that the RCGF is now open to support projects in 2016/17.

Meeting at the old community centre next to the building site, Mr Neil spoke to some of the groups who will use the centre, including Women’s Aid, the Alpha Project and Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Unemployed Workers Centre. The new centre will include space for small businesses and third sector groups, a nursery, hall and café space as well as multi-function rooms for local organisations.

Mr Neil 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.

“Investment in regeneration projects like this new community centre is absolutely key for stimulating economic growth throughout Scotland, whilst at the same time tackling inequality in disadvantaged communities – an approach which is now at the core of Scotland’s economic strategy. It’s also a great example of how Scotland’s public bodies can work in partnership to deliver initiatives that revitalise our communities, but more importantly ensuring communities themselves are at the heart of the regeneration of their areas.

“I’m delighted that COSLA has agreed to work with us for a third term on this initiative and would encourage local authorities and eligible organisations to apply to the third round of this fund.”

Councillor Stephen Hagan, COSLA spokesperson for development, economy and sustainability, added: “The RCGF really is the reality behind the rhetoric. We hear all the talk about outcomes and delivering for communities, well this fund really does do just that and that is why for the third year in a row COSLA is happy to fully support the government in its delivery

“I’m heartened to see the progress on the projects which have received funding from the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund to date; the difference this is making within local communities across Scotland; and the strong physical, social and economic outcomes that these projects are demonstrating. I look forward to seeing the projects that come forward within this next round of the RCGF announced today.

“This fund is of crucial importance in ensuring transformational change in areas of deprivation across Scotland, and I’m glad that COSLA and Scottish Government continue to work together proactively on this area of policy which is so crucial for improving the outcomes for communities across the country.”

North Lanarkshire Council’s regeneration convener, Cllr David Fagan, said: “The Cumbernauld Community Enterprise Centre is an innovative scheme to provide modern up-to-date office facilities for voluntary 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.”

Brian McQuade, Scotland and north-east England managing director of Kier Construction, which is building the new centre in Cumbernauld, said: “This vibrant mix of community, business and play facilities in the heart of the town centre will benefit thousands of people in Cumbernauld and the surrounding areas.

“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.”

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, which is managing the construction, added: “The transformation of Muirfield Community Centre will make a significant difference to the community in Cumbernauld and the surrounding areas, whilst creating local employment opportunities.”

The RCGF was developed in partnership with local authorities, and provides financial support for projects which deliver large scale positive improvements to deprived areas. After an agreement approved by COSLA in May, Housing Minister Margaret Burgess and Cllr Stephen Hagan, COSLA’s Spokesperson for Development, Economy and Sustainability announced at the Holyrood Regeneration Conference today that the fund will be open for a third round of applications for projects which will get underway during 2016.

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