Renfrewshire Council

Active Communities inside the former Johnstone Police Station

Community groups receive first empowerment funds

A project to turn Johnstone Police Station into a local health hub is one of three community-led initiatives to receive support from the Community Empowerment Fund.

The newly established fund is open to all community groups who want to take over ownership and running of a building or piece or land in their local area.

Active Communities has received £10,000 for a feasibility study and to further develop the business case for its innovative idea to convert the station building into a community led health and wellbeing centre.

Starting out 15 years ago as a Paisley walking and jogging group, Active Communities now delivers physical activity and community sport, health and wellbeing classes to more than 700 people each week right across Renfrewshire, with a local school programme and a youth volunteering initiative.

Plans for the facility also include providing space for women's initiative Kairos, who provide support to vulnerable women facing social barriers and a men's shed for men to make social connections and build friendships.

The station kitchen could be adapted to give local people training in cookery and healthy eating and there are also plans to provide meeting rooms for other community groups.

"The more we have grown and the greater the demand, we were keen to have a central hub so we can deliver lots more activities," said Susan McDonald, Active Communities Manager.

"Downstairs would be space for our classes and upstairs would be office space for ourselves and for other community organisations who are looking to grow. There's been great support from the Johnstone community and it is really exciting that we're one step closer.

"Our classes and activities are about having fun and helping to tackle loneliness and isolation. We aim to encourage people who wouldn't see themselves as sporty. We will have space for a drop in where people can join us for a cuppa, a chat and find out what is available."

Councillors on Renfrewshire's Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board also approved £10,000 for Paisley Community Trust as they develop the business case to turn the old Arnott's site into a cinema, arts venue and theatre.

And West End Growing Grounds Association received £20,000 to help them relocate to Underwood Road.

The next deadline for Community Empowerment Fund applications is Friday 14 September.

Published on Tuesday 21 August 2018

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