Falkirk district community centres to close

Community centres across Falkirk will all close their doors on Monday - if they haven’t already.

By Kirsty Paterson
Friday, 20th March 2020, 5:34 pm

Falkirk Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said they had no choice but to make the decision.

She said:”Given the wider public health advice about social distancing it’s hard to think of any activity that would be happening there that wouldn’t bring people together.

“But there may well be activities emanating from those centres as part of the community response that won’t necessarily involve bringing people together.”

Sign up to our daily The Falkirk Herald Today newsletter

Falkirk Council has been meeting with CVS Falkirk - which represents many local community groups, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and volunteers - to see what can be done to face the challenge across the district.

The council leader also said they had had an overwhelming response from the community and private sector and they would continue to work with third sector partners to coordinate their response.

“We hope to have in place locality co-ordinators for each area to help the voluntary sector.

“We also need to give volunteers clear guidance on good practice while still being able to give the help they want to give.”

It also seems likely that all councillors’ surgeries will have to be cancelled as many are held in these community halls.

However, Mrs Meiklejohn said they are still helping people who are looking for advice, via phone, email and messaging.

She said: “We’re trying to continue to support people as much as we can in the community.

“People are very anxious, they’ve got lots of questions and we’re trying to get answers and responses to them as quickly as we can.”

She said that staffing at the council was a challenge and that was likely to get worse.

The council leader said: “Right across the council, we have people who are very anxious and some people who are ill but who don’t actually have this virus are going off - which is fair enough because they are trying to protect themselves, their families and others around them.

“But it does mean that they may well recover, come back and have the virus further down the line.”

Council staff have also been impacted by changing government guidance on who should be working from home, with people who are diabetic, asthmatic and pregnant now urged to take great care along with other people who have health problems.

Mrs Meiklejohn said: “That has had a big impact on staff across the council and in health and social care and that’s where we are having to look at services and redeploying people.”

However, she said, many council and community trust workers were able and willing to help out in other areas where they could be redeployed.

For the latest updates on services that have been affected visit www.falkirk.gov.uk.