Campaign launches to keep iconic Edinburgh church in hands of community

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Campaigners hope to see the church brought into community ownership.

A campaign has been launched to convert Leith St Andrew’s Parish church into a community centre, after the building was put up for sale by the Church of Scotland.

The Leith St Andrew’s Centre Campaign hopes to save many services already housed within the historic venue and expand provision of activities for the local community.

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It's home to a brass band, a dance company, a nursery and a foodbank, as well as many smaller groups.

Campaigners are determined to ensure the building remains a valuable resource for the people of Leith, owned by the local community.

Neighbours who support the plans said there is a 'significant lack of large multipurpose spaces for recreation and community activity & development'. 

John Hall, Engagement Lead from the Leith St Andrew’s Centre Campaign said,

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"Leith St Andrew's has played a central role in the community for generations, providing a place for people to come together, connect with their neighbours and support one another.”

 "It would be devastating to lose that when the building is sold. So as Leithers, we are persevering, and trying to ensure that Leith St Andrew’s continues to serve its community in important and exciting ways for years to come.”

Formed as a collective of local non-profit organisations, the campaigners say that Leith St Andrew’s could help meet the growing demand for alternative sports, physical activities and wellbeing facilities among Leith’s increasing population, as evidenced by the support seen for the Leith Links Activity Park development. 

New activities housed in the church could include parkour and other inclusive movement classes; intergenerational community classes teaching fun, accessible circus skills; and perinatal wellbeing workshops and support. 

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Thom O’Neil, a neighbour of Leith St Andrew’s who supports the campaign said: "a community-owned space for exciting and emerging activities & recreation would be an incredible benefit to both the local and wider community. Leith prides itself on community, but there is a significant lack of large multipurpose spaces for recreation and community activity & development.” 

The campaign is seeking views of local residents and organisations on what Leith St Andrew's could look like as a community wellbeing centre It's also looking for volunteers who can help apply for funding and build local support. 

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