Saturday 14 September 2013 should be a busy day. Glasgow’s East End will see an open day for its first, women-only gym. In a pink painted building once used as douce offices on Gallowgate near the Forge cinema, Gill’s gym is set to spin, work-out and dance for a long time to come.
On Glasgow Green, a different crowd will gather to work out how to Bin the Bedroom Tax. The United Nations rapporteur, Raquel Rolnik, who spent two weeks in the UK gathering evidence on how the global financial crisis has affected housing, found that Bedroom Tax issues dominated her interviews with people who were having to cope with the ‘spare room supplement,’ as it is formally called. She said the policy should be abolished as it was affecting human rights. Introduced by the Westminster government, the tax reduces housing benefit where the person has more bedrooms than it is judged they need.
So Saturday’s protesters will assemble on Glasgow Green for a rally and then head for the SECC where the Liberal Democrat Conference will be in process. The protesters have been curtailed by Glasgow City Council on how they may march. And police have curtailed how many may protest at the SECC. The erosion of these human rights is clouded by the fact that the protesters are seriously split among themselves. One wing is led by Tommy Sheridan and the other wing is bitterly opposed to the disgraced politician.
In the middle are the ordinary folk who are suffering to the point – in some cases - of contemplating suicide.
It is a little solace that the Scottish Government has allocated £20 million in its budget this week to provide help to people affected by this iniquitous Tax. But this same Government has also allocated £20 million to boost cycling as a form of transport.
Much more energy and visionary leadership has to be found to work out how to Say No 2 the Bedroom Tax and how to protect human rights to protest, to march and to speak out.
Maybe, just maybe, if more women get together to socialise in pink gyms, a new spin could be found on strategies to save desperate people from self-destruction.
Women in Glasgow’s East End now have a dedicated Women Only gym.
Thanks to Gill Connor and her team, the Forge Fitness Centre – or Gill’s Gym – is up and running. It sits in its lovely girlie pink building near the Forge cinema at 1173 Gallowgate G31 4EG. Once the offices of Hunter and Clark, the premises have been given a feminine make-over with studios dedicated to Spinning, Vibrating Plates, Weights, Workouts and almost every other modern, professional fitness training routine.
An Open Day will be held on Saturday 14 September – from 12 noon till 3pm – with an invitation to any woman interested to drop in and find out what’s in the Forge Fitness Centre for her. A special opening offer of £20 a month with no joining fee won’t last long! So don’t miss out.
Once a new customer services officer with a bank, Gill is passionate about health and fitness.
‘The bank was very good and allowed me to reduce my working hours to follow my fitness passion and increase my freelance fitness training hours,’ said Gill who is 24. ‘That helped me manage the work / life balance. When this opportunity became available, it was a no-brainer for me to do this full time.’
From freelance fitness instructor to full time Fitness Manager, Gill has made the transition with calmness and in a planned way.
‘Since July, its been long days -practically living here – to get the place ready. But it is all coming together now,’ she said.
Apart from the cardio studio with treadmills, bikes, rower, cross trainers and steps, there is a weights and balls studio for Abs work. There is a distinctive yellow studio for the 10 bikes for spin sessions. ‘We have disco lights in there which gives a much more fun and motivational atmosphere,’ explained Gill.
Another unit is dedicated to vibro-plate and stretching.
‘There most definitely will be something to suit everyone,’ said Gill who has included nail bar and lipo treatment and Herbal Life professionals with their own dedicated space. Essential showers and changing facilities are included. But the prime place is a big, airy dance studio overlooking the famous Gallowgate and featuring an antique safe painted in silver and pink. ‘It’s there because we couldn’t find a way to move it!’ said Gill who proceeded to make a fun highlight of it.
‘Women can be intimidated in a gym,’ said Gill. ‘They tend to use the one bit of equipment they know about and are often afraid to ask about using the other things. That’s why my Forge Fitness Centre is women only. Women will feel much more comfortable and will ask questions. This won’t be a scary place and we’ll instruct people how to use the equipment. We’ll also sit down with each person when she joins and talk about her lifestyle and the changes she wants. That way, we can advise the best exercises for her. She may only need minor tweeking to what she’s doing, but we can keep an eye on her progress and give her encouragement when it’s needed.’
With her Level 2 and Level 3 Personal Training qualifications, her bank experience in customer service and her own tremendous enthusiasm for fitness and good health, Gill is seeing her dream come true. She said: ‘I want women to feel that a gym can be fun and a nice place to socialise with friends.’ She’s created that comfortable environment in a cocoon of pink at the Forge Fitness Centre in 1173 Gallowgate, G31 4EG.
Find the Forge Fitness Centre on Twitter , You Tube, and Facebook
Tel: 0141 280 7000
The £25 million Clyde Gateway (the East End Regeneration Route) opened to traffic on Thursday 26 April 2012. It is a key piece of infrastructure associated with Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the expectation is it will bring jobs and economic advantage to the East End of Glasgow – Shawfield and Dalmarnock in particular – by improving accessibility.
The four-lane, 2.6km carriageway links the Oatlands and the M74 junction at Polmadie in the south to the Forge Retail Park in the north. Designed by Gronmij and built through a joint venture between Farrans and I&H Brown, it will give easy access to Celtic Park, where the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games will be held, the Commonwealth Arena, Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and the Athletes’ Village.
This will be a critical route to transport some of the 18,000 athletes and support staff and hundreds of thousands of spectators expected during the Games. Afterwards, the roadway will be a legacy for the benefit of the local community.
Traffic congestion on existing local roads should also ease, especially during peak times. Recent traffic modelling studies have shown that there will be a reduction in traffic across the major east/west arteries crossing road around London Road and Gallowgate and in association with the new M74 link, this will free up road space to allow for additional walking, cycling and bus routes to be put in place.
Phase 1 of the road opened in April 2007 as part of the development of new housing in the Oatlands area and was officially re-named- New Rutherglen Road. Phase 1A followed in April 2010, running from the Polmadie junction of the M74 and Shawfield Stadium. This stretch totals 1.5km.
Phase 2 is the longest section, crossing the Clyde at Rutherglen Bridge and passing Dalmarnock Railway Station, the Commonwealth Arena and Celtic Park before joining the Parkhead by-pass at the Forge Retail Park
Brian Devlin, Executive Director for Land and Environmental Services said: ‘The Clyde Gateway creates a new, direct link between the completed M74 and the heart of Glasgow’s East End. This will offer fantastic new opportunities for people and business either currently living or based in this part of Glasgow or looking to move there. This is part of the wider regeneration of the city.
Neil MacDonald, Chairman of Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company said: ‘The M74 has already shown that new roads play a very important part in businesses choosing where to make crucial investment decisions and there is no doubt that Shawfield and Dalmarnock in particular will benefit from this new piece of infrastructure. Our on-going efforts to attract developers to the East End have been helped immensely by this road opening and I’d like to thank Glasgow City Council for again demonstrating their commitment to the long-term regeneration of the Clyde Gateway area.’
Prior to the formal opening when traffic started flowing, children from four primary schools in the east end were given the chance to try out the newest section of the road.
More than 100 Primary 6 and 7 pupils from St Michael’s, St Anne’s, Dalmarnock and Quarrybrae primary schools cycled around an obstacle course set up on part of the new tarmac running from new Oatlands over Rutherglen Bridge, through Dalmarnock to Gallowgate.
The children experienced, first hand, the road’s new cycling facilities including dedicated cycle lanes and extended footpaths that are provided along the full length of the route.
They also got the chance to brush up on their safety skills with Glasgow City Council road safety officers and Strathclyde Police cyclists and motorcyclists. Dr Bike offered advice on maintaining bikes and gave practical demonstrations to ensure they were fit for the road.
As well as providing better facilities for cyclists, the new road, funded entirely by the Council, will improve public transport links and accessibility around the East End.
With phase one opened as part of the Oatlands new neighbourhood development last year, phase two of the 2.4km stretch runs over Rutherglen Bridge, continues via Dunn Street, Poplin Street, Dalmarnock Road, Mordaunt Street, London Road and Camlachie to join the existing road network at the Parkhead by-pass, Forge Retail Park.
TheClydeGateway (Phase 2) Facts
1. More than 35,000tonnes of asphalt used to lay roads, footpaths and cycle ways.
2. 800m of 2.74m diameter tunnel used to alleviate storm water flooding.
3. More than 250 trees planted and 40,000 sq m of landscaping to the road corridor.
4. 10km of new drainage pipes installed for new roads.
5. 250 new traffic signal heads installed over seven junctions.
6. 330 new lighting columns.
7. Construction period 2 years (April 2010 to April 2012)
There is still time to audition for an exciting play which will tour Glasgow during March and April as part of Lenfest 2011.
Titled ‘The Turnaround’ the play follows the life of Adam, a Glasgow ned with a big chip on his shoulder. He jumps off a bridge to finish things but is rescued by a volunteer from a church soup kitchen which feeds homeless people. However, the rescuer, himself, dies in his efforts to save Adam. What effect this has on Adam is what the play is about.
Anyone aged 16 or over and who can attend rehearsals on Monday and Thursday evenings and tour with the production from 25 March till 16 April this year is invited to attend an audition on Monday 24 January at 7.30pm in St Michael’s church hall, 1350 Gallowgate, Glasgow G31 4DJ (at Parkhead Cross, opposite Cineworld and behind the Forge Shopping Centre)
Otherwise call 0141 554 1333 or email: info:agap.org.uk for more details or another time for an audition. Male and female actors are needed and backstage helpers too! For a full list of characters and other information see website: www.agap.org.uk
The play has been written by Stephen Callaghan especially for the Lentfest 2011 programme and is being produced by AGAP Theatre
By Alan McCrorie
Glasgow Housing Association’s new chief executive celebrated his first day in post by helping front a major community regeneration plan targeting eight areas of the city.
Martin Armstrong joined Communities and Housing Minister Alex Neil MSP and Leader of Glasgow City Council Steven Purcell in Maryhill to announce eight ‘transformational regeneration areas’.
The partnership between GHA, the Scottish Government and the council aims to build thousands of homes in the target neighbourhoods. The first scheme, in Maryhill, should, if approved, provide 400 new homes. Initial plans are for 300 owner-occupied and 100 for tenants at Maryhill Locks.
There are plans in hand for 300 homes in Laurieston, mainly for rent. However, the partnership hopes to build a total of 1700 homes for rent, sale and low-cost ownership there.
The plans also call for new health and community facilities, as well as green spaces and commercial and retail properties.
The regeneration model would be rolled out across the city to include Sighthill and Shawbridge, Red Road, North Toryglen, Gallowgate, Ibrox and East Govan.
He said: ‘There’s more than just houses,’ said Martin. ‘We want to establish a sense of sustainability in the community that hasn’t been there in the past.
‘It would be wrong of me to put a timescale on it, but clearly what we’re going to do is to give urgency to the transformational regeneration areas. What we want to do is work with these eight communities and ensure there’s a realistic timescale that we can deliver.
He added: ‘GHA will be part of the partnership to make sure the houses are built to a good standard, they are retained at an affordable rent level, and also we will play our part in other initiatives surrounding employability to ensure we create a good, stable environment in which people can live and educate their children.’
Steven Purcell said: ‘This will be about building homes that people want to live in and creating employment in a time of recession. It’s good news for people in this part of the city who’ve waited a long time to see their community change in the way that other communities across Glasgow already have.’