First look: New £3m community hub set for Broomhouse

Broomhouse community welcome a new hub'Bridie Ashrowan and Tom Watson'Chief Executive'The Broomhouse Centre & Enterprises' Broomhouse Crescent'Edinburgh.
Broomhouse community welcome a new hub'Bridie Ashrowan and Tom Watson'Chief Executive'The Broomhouse Centre & Enterprises' Broomhouse Crescent'Edinburgh.
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A NEW £3 million community hub is to be built in Broomhouse, more than doubling the size of the current centre.

A new community hall will be at the heart of the development, which will also include an updated cafe, retail space for rent, meeting rooms for hire and deskspace for start-up projects and businesses.

How the community hub will look.

How the community hub will look.

The Broomhouse Centre and Enterprises secured funding 
for the new building from the Big Lottery Fund, the Scottish Government and a series of trusts, as well as raising money with a “buy a brick” campaign.

Work is due to start later this month and the new premises should be ready by July 2019.

The centre currently runs a wide range of services and activities, including work with older people, young carers, a befriending scheme for young people affected by parental addiction, a cafe open every day and a catering arm providing sandwiches for conferences and events.

All these will continue during the year of construction, mostly based at nearby St David’s Parish Church.

Centre chief executive Bridie Ashrowan said the existing 27-year-old building was “creaking at the seams” without enough space for all that was happening.

She said: “The new hub can cope with more than twice the existing footfall and the community will have a facility that is fit for purpose with a wide range of activities.

“The organisation has always punched above its weight, with innovative services and enterprises, some of which are city wide, but this gives us the boost we need to really make a difference as a community-owned and managed asset.”

The centre has around 20 staff and more than 150 volunteers across all the projects.

The initiative to develop a new building began six years ago.

Local councillor Cathy Fullerton said: “The team at the Broomhouse Centre have managed to make a long-standing ambition become a reality. They have achieved this by sourcing the funding required and managing this project which will be a huge boost to the community.

“The Broomhouse Centre leads the way in growing and supporting our community by offering opportunities for all ages in employment, creative and physical activities. We have much to look forward to when the new hub is built.”

The centre has an ongoing fundraising target of £500,000 to complete the building, create a garden suitable for all, the very young and old, including people with dementia, and equipment and furnishings, such as kit for a cinema night.

Valerie Jackman, chairperson of the centre said: “This is a very exciting time for the centre. The staff work relentlessly to deliver a range of truly amazing services for the community, and the positive impact these services have is clear for all to see. Having a new purpose built Hub will not only allow us to continue this great work, it will also enable us to grow and flourish at the heart of the community.”

And Gary Holmes, regional managing director for building firm Graham Construction, said: “The new hub will rejuvenate this vital, community resource and much-needed focal point for the local people, led by local people, and serving people across South West Edinburgh.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com