Duncan Place to reopen as Leith community hub after £1.2m grant

When re-opened the Duncan Place centre will fitted out with up-to-date facilities, Picture: Jane Barlow
When re-opened the Duncan Place centre will fitted out with up-to-date facilities, Picture: Jane Barlow
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A COMMUNITY hub will reopen under the stewardship of a charity after securing £1.2 million of funding.

Duncan Place in Leith is set to reopen its doors to the community after the project received £1.2 million from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF). The money will be spent on refurbishing the building before being handed over to the newly registered Duncan Place charity.

The community-led charity aims to open the hub’s doors by 2020, in time to mark the site’s centenary.

Organisers hope to create a thriving community hub featuring affordable studios and offices available for charitable organisations, support services and social enterprises. The premises will also offer space for events, classes and workshops focusing on arts, health, education, well-being and reducing inequality in Leith.

Carol Leslie, chairwoman of the Duncan Place charity, said: “This is a such a boost for the folks in Leith.

“It was a busy, lively centre and a great resource for everyone who used it before its closure. When it re-opens, the centre will be a fitted out with up-to-date facilities, have disabled and lift access and be an energy efficient building.

“Duncan Place will be a fantastic space for groups, clubs and classes to meet and come together. It will be community-owned, community-led with office and studio space to help sustain the community activities and resources.”

She added: “We would like to thank the council along with our members and Leithers who have helped to get us to this stage.

“We invite everyone to get in touch and to follow the progress on Facebook at Duncan Place Leith, on Twitter using @duncan_place or via the website duncanplace.org.”

Leithers stepped in to save the building from demolition in 2014 and trustees have secured the future of the building in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council.

The community campaign has tallied up finding close to £1.5 million in order to revamp and reopen the community space.

Leader of the council, Cllr Adam McVey, said: “This is brilliant news for Leith and the city. Another community hub is to be brought back to life due to regeneration funding from the Scottish Government. This project is an excellent example of what collaboration and partnership working between the public and voluntary sectors can achieve.

“We’ve worked well with the group taking forward this project and knowing those involved from the community, I’m chuffed they’ve done such a fantastic job in bringing Duncan Place back into use.

“The funding will help to reduce inequality through the provision of much needed affordable space for events, classes and workshops on health, education and well-being and I’m excited to see the next phase of the project develop.”