Inverclyde Council announces funding for new community hub

Inverclyde Council announces funding for new community hub

Inverclyde Council leader, Councillor Stephen McCabe, with representatives from Parklea Branching Out, including manager Sharon Gemmell

A horticultural charity that provides skills and training opportunities for people with additional support needs has secured almost £0.25 million from Inverclyde Council towards building a new community hub.

The local authority’s policy and resources committee has agreed a six-figure funding package for Parklea Branching Out to enable the organisation to create a multi-purpose facility within its existing Port Glasgow base for the people of Inverclyde.

With support from the council, the charity secured £1.1m from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF) in late 2021 to help bring their plans to fruition, in addition to other external funds and use of reserves.

However due to rising prices, the overall cost has gone up leaving the charity with a shortfall of just over £400,000 and left the project in jeopardy. In order to ensure the development goes ahead, the council has agreed to provide £200k which will be match-funded by the government.

The local authority has also pledged an extra £50k if required due to the ongoing financial volatility.

Councillor Stephen McCabe, leader of Inverclyde Council and convener of policy and resources, said: “Myself and my fellow councillors recognise what a significant development this will be not just for the people of Port Glasgow but the whole of Inverclyde so we’re pleased to be able to continue supporting Parklea Branching Out to get this worthwhile project over the line.

“Sharon and the team have done fantastic work over the last 26 years growing this wonderful organisation into what it is today and the creation of a bespoke base here at Parklea will allow the charity to continue to flourish.

“The new facility will also transform a rather unsightly area on the Port Glasgow waterfront into a vibrant community hub to be enjoyed by service users, staff, volunteers and visitors.”

As part of the project, improvements will be made to existing facilities and outdoor areas and allow for the creation of a new building featuring offices, meeting spaces, accessible toilets and changing rooms, a community café, training facilities and garden retail space.

Sharon Gemmell, manager of Parklea Branching Out, said: “We are really pleased to have been granted this additional funding from both the Scottish Government and Inverclyde Council and we’d like to thank them for their continued support.

“We have worked closely with the council in order to secure this final piece of funding for our new community hub. The hub will be a great addition to the Parklea facility and will be an exciting new space for the whole community to use.

“We look forward to opening our doors to new visitors.”

Parklea Branching Out was established in 1997 and uses horticulture to provide training, work experience, supported employment, and recreational and social facilities for a variety of people, including young people and adults with additional support needs.

The organisation grows fruit, vegetables and plants which they sell to individuals, groups and businesses to support its outreach work.

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