Roystonhill Community HubCommunity Cohesion | Employment/Training | Grant-making | Health and Wellbeing | Isolation/Loneliness | Physical Environment | Place-based Approaches
What is the project?
The Roystonhill Community Hub, which officially opened in August 2019, became fully operation in November. Located in the Roystonhill area of Glasgow, includes two community halls, a community café area, a large flexible meeting space, a commercial kitchen, a reception area with open plan office space, a smaller additional office space, an interview room and a community shop unit.
Why did the project come about?
One of Royston’s local councillors identified a need for more community spaces in the local area, something that was coming out of his surgeries and conversations with people. He’d been involved in similar projects in other communities. He asked Spire View if they would be interested in leading on it as they were the most active social landlord (in terms of wider role activities) in the area.
Roystonhill is a deprived area; it’s in the top 5% of the worst ranking IMD areas. There is high employment, low income, low educational attainments, and poor health amongst its popuation. The Community Hub was also set up as a way of tackling those social issues.
How was this project implemented?
To begin with, Spire View Housing Association carried out a feasibility study. That was funded by Spire View, Investing Ideas, the Lottery and Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), which is part of the Wheatley group. As part of that study Spire View identified 14 sites across the local area that could potentially deliver a new community facility. Rainbow hall, an old church hall in Royston owned by the Church of Scotland, was identified as the preferred site throughout that process.
Around 95% of the community thought that the area needed this new facility. They agreed that they wanted a shop to be included in it. Many of the shops in the Roystonhill area have disappeared over the years. To simply go to a general convenience store, residents had to go down the hill and almost into the city centre. Consequently, shops were identified as an amenity that was seriously lacking.
At the same time the local development trust had commissioned consultants to carry out a vision and strategy which identified a need for community services and facilities. That added weight to the case for a new Community Hub, which helped Spire View with funders.
When Spire View came to the stage where they were able to purchase the church hall, they began to work closely with the Rosemount Development Trust, who owned the 150-year-old church spire located adjacent to the hall. They wanted to carry out environmental works on their site, meaning that the development of the church hall became a bigger project with much better outcomes.
How was this project funded?
The Scottish Land Fund had decided at that time that there was an interest in funding urban projects. The Community Hub was the first urban project that they funded, giving £40,000 to towards the acquisition of the old hall and surrounding land.
Planning wanted Spire View to preserve the unique old façade of the building. That had significant cost implications, but the Lottery were able to help with additional funding. At the same time Spire View were speaking to development and regeneration services at Glasgow City Council. Spire View developed technical aspects, along with a business plan and then were awarded £1m for capital works and another £98,000 for the revenue for four and a half years – from the National Lottery. The project received an additional £575,000 from the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.
At the same time, Spire View started looking at smaller funders. The housing association themselves contributed more money, and neighbouring housing association Copperworks contributed £60,000. The Clothworkers' Foundation also gave £85,000, Rosemount Development Trust contributed £10,000 and the Huge Fraser Foundation pledged £10,000.
The key to getting the project to the next stages was developing a relationship with the funders and working in partnership with other organisations.
Outcomes so far
Since the Community Hub opened in November it has been surpassed expectations. It’s only been fully operational for four months but every day - and night - the Hub is full. It hosts many classes and activities, such as got bingo, karate, yoga, a dance boot camp, a children’s disco, mum’s and tots and more. Spire View have been receiving constant enquiries about using their spaces. They let out the small office space a couple of days a week to a local credit union and have an employability project has started there recently. This is all income to make the building sustainable.
Spire View secured funding recently to deliver a digital engagement programme, from Power Up, through The Good Things foundation. Off the back of that they’ve also secured more Scottish government funding to employ a volunteer co-ordinator. The housing association's financial support services are also run out of the building now, providing a neutral and informal space for residents to discuss their money issues with trained professionals.
Within the Hub there’s also a shop unit which is likely to open soon. There’s going to be a general convenience store there as well. Spire View were approached by someone locally who said they’d like to run a café out of the building, and because of their commercial kitchen facilities they were able to offer them a space. According to staff at the housing association, that's been going really well and is always busy.
The success of the Hub has been down to the individuals working on the project and their sheer grit and determination. The relationship that they built up with funders was crucial, as well as their partnership working. Throughout the project Spire View worked with a huge number of local organisations in their community.
Looking forward, Spire View will be building on what they’ve already achieved. They’d like to see the shop unit up and running and would like to see the shop keeper work more with the café owner. The volunteer co-ordinator will be responsible for filling new lets.
Fiona Murphy, Director of Spire View Housing Association, said: “Our number one priority is to make sure that all the momentum and excitement of these first few months keeps on going.”