Bid to rebuild fire-hit community centre

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A FRESH fundraising drive has been launched to rebuild a community hub after it was devastated by fire.

The Corstorphine Youth and Community Centre’s (CYC) base on Kirk Loan was destroyed last October after a blaze started by a heater next door spread through the building.

The fire severely damaged the centre. Picture: Joey Kelly

The fire severely damaged the centre. Picture: Joey Kelly

But now a new hub has been set up at 191 St John’s Road to help raise cash to rebuild the structure.

The temporary premises boast a charity shop, an art gallery, a cafe, a play room and a large space for groups to hire out.

Funds raised will go towards renovating the inside of the heavily damaged Kirk Loan site.

But community leaders warned it could be as long as two years before the building’s burnt-out shell is ready to be occupied again.

The St John’s Road hub will be launched next Wednesday – but the on-site charity shop was expected to open its doors today.

Caroline Anderson, CYC facilities co-ordinator, said: “We’ve just had so many people coming in asking to buy stuff, that we are opening the charity shop. We had about 60 people at the preview night – and hopefully the same amount will come to the opening night in September.

“But this is only a temporary home – the charity shop is to raise money for the new centre and to keep the locals of Corstorphine aware of what’s going on.”

CYC found its new home after an agreement was reached with 29-year-old Lucy Wadowiec, who runs Lucy’s Cafe on St John’s Road.

Miss Wadowiec’s cafe faced closure by planning chiefs after the furniture shop it was attached to, Ivory and Willow, closed down.

But with the new hub taking its place, the community centre and cafe can operate on the same premises and under the same licence – satisfying council planners.

And businesses and community groups have clamoured to support the latest fundraising drive, with more than £5600 donated so far.

In July, supermarket Tesco’s Corstorphine branch contributed £250, while pupils from Fox Covert Primary School handed over a cheque for £175.53 in June.

A £700 boost also came from fundraising at Corstorphine Fair.

Tom McLean, a member of the CYC management committee, said: “It’s about maintaining a presence in the community.

“The hub is right in the centre of Corstorphine and the front notice board is the best in the area.”

Ken Swinney, secretary of Corstorphine Community Council, added: “It’s good to have it open – we are all desperate to get the public back into the original building.

“The idea is a good one if it gets the support of the local community.”