Residents in an Elgin community are being encouraged by their local councillors to get behind moves to create a new community hub.
An application for funding a new £1million centre in South Lesmurdie has been submitted in the only part of Moray that falls into the lower 20% of the ‘most deprived’ areas of Scotland.
SNP Councillor Patsy Gowans has insisted that ways must be found of getting people in the area into work and that the hub is a way of doing that. She said: “There are differences between living in a house than in a flat.
“For instance, if you have children and you are trying to dry laundry inside and can’t afford to put on a dryer, over time that can cause damp. That in turn can cause health problems, impact on children’s health, which can then impact on their education – which then impacts on their employment opportunities.”
Labour Councillor Barry Jarvis said the lack of a meeting place in the area was a major drawback, adding that the hub as it was being envisaged would provide a focal point for the community.
He said: “At present people wanting to meet to talk about specific local issues have to go out of the area to do that. The hub will be what the community wants it to be – it could be a really vastly open building that, if we get it right, should be a real opportunity for the people of South Lesmurdie to have a say in their own future.”
The lack of such a centre was highlighted by Councillor Mike Shand, who said: “When a council housing officer tried to organise a meeting to establish a South Lesmurdie residents’ group, the nearest they could get was the resource centre on Maisondieu Road – now that is not terribly far away, but it is far enough.”
Most of the funding for the proposal would come from the Scottish Government and COSLA Regeneration Capital Grant Fund. If the bid is successful it is hoped that work to develop the hub can begin as early as January.
A steering group is expected to be formed by the Council’s community support unit with the South Lesmurdie community.