Falkirk community centre’s future is rosey as it unveils new look garden

A Falkirk facility run be members of the community for members of the community showed off its new garden this week and displayed how far it had come in such a short time.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 4:52 pm
Thornwood Tenants and Residents Association members Mary McDonald, Margaret Gardiner and Liz Godfrey in the Westfield Park Community Centre garden they helped to revamp
Thornwood Tenants and Residents Association members Mary McDonald, Margaret Gardiner and Liz Godfrey in the Westfield Park Community Centre garden they helped to revamp

Last year Falkirk Council decided to cut its funding to Westfield Park Community Centre forcing the management committee to begin the process of officially taking over the running and financing of the Westfield Street premises.

Now in the final stages of the asset transfer process, the committee decided to invite residents along to an open event earlier today to let them see what the centre now has to offer.

Betty Cook, committee assistant secretary, said: “It’s just about getting the community interested to come in and see what kind of things we do here. The groups who use the centre will be able to show people what they do here and hopefully get some more people to sign up to the various groups.

“Our computer group has started up again and hopefully parents will come in with their children over the summer holidays to take advantage of our play scheme for youngsters aged seven to 12 which runs from Tuesday, August 6 to Thursday, August 8.”

The centre is also hosting a family barbecue from noon to 4pm on Friday, August 9, when people can come along and see the work that has gone into the revamped community garden.

Thanks to funding from Falkirk Council’s Make a Difference community grant scheme, Thornwood Tenants and Residents Association chairperson Liz Godfrey, secretary Mary Macdonald and other members were able to plant new flowers in the garden, located at the edge of the centre’s car park.

The green-fingered youngsters of Woodburn Early Learning and Childcare centre also mucked in to help.

Sadly two large plants – including one worth around £40 – were dug up and stolen shortly after being planted.

It was a bit of a blow, but Liz and the gang were undaunted and planted some replacement flowers just before Wednesday’s open event.

The garden is not the only thing to benefit from a cash injection, just last month Westfield Park secured an amazing £150,000 from the Big Lottery Fund which will allow them to hire a project worker and also a cleaner/caretaker.

The cash, which will fund these posts for three years, is particularly welcome in light of Falkirk Council’s recent budgetary decision to cut funding to the centre.

While the sizable financial award is a big boost to the Westfield Park, the committee still need help, and are calling on the people of the community to offer their support to help maintain the community centre as it goes forward.

Betty said: “Our hope is to keep this community centre going for the people and this is why we need to work on bringing in more activities than we have just now. Everything we currently do will still keep going and, for the future, it’s a case of looking at what the needs of the community are and then putting them in place.”

The centre has been around since the 1980s and now offers changing rooms for local football teams, a computer room for those who need to brush up on their digital skills or log on to claim their Universal Credit, an office suite, meeting room and cafe area.

In the past Westfield Park has been a great help in preventing and intervening in many social problems for residents and without the ongoing support available at the centre some people would be unable to cope with day to day issues.

As well as Betty, the voluntary team at Westfield Park includes chairperson Tracey Cole, vice chairperson Janet Strathie, secretary Rochelle Black and treasurer Jim Cook.

For more information on the Westfield Park Communty Centre, the events it holds and groups it hosts, as well as details about the caretaker post call (01324) 508520.