Christmas lights will be switched on during St Andrew’s day in the Shawlands Arcade.
From 4pm till 6pm on Friday 30 November there will be festive fun in the Arcade which is along Kilmarnock Road . ‘It will be a fantastic community event!’ said a spokesperson for organisers, the Southside Festival. ‘Come along and invite your friends.’
Already the Festival organisers are preparing for Southside Festival 2013. It will take place on Saturday 18 May with the Picnic in the Park following on Sunday 19 May. But plans are developing to make May a month of Southside Festival events with lots and lots and lots of music.
Anyone with ideas of what they’d like to see included in programme 2013 should look at the Southside Festival Facebook page. There is also an opportunity to give feedback to the Southside Film Festival people on past festivals. Check out http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/L8WSSWL
A Business Association has been launched in Shawlands with the aim of improving the area as a place to shop and to do business. Around 50 people packed into a classroom at Shawlands Academy on Thursday 31 March and agreed a constitution for Shawlands Business Association. The intrim chair is Barry Young of Young’s Interesting Books in Skirving Street and vice chair is Irene Fletcher of Martin Fletcher Opticians on Kilmarnock Road.
‘The Association can be a voice to be heard in the corridors of power,’ said Barry. ‘we need movers and shakers, doers and diplomats with enthusiasm and drive.
‘If an individual moans or complains – nothing happens. If that individual joins this Association, it can make a difference as the Association will be a collective voice.’
A survey carried out by the Glasgow City Council’s DRS department, attracted more than 1200 responses. It showed that the condition of Shawlands Arcade, vacant shops, parking provision and antisocial behaviour were high priority concerns, locally. Coupled with this, was the economic slowdown.
In an address of welcome, Barry said: ‘Customers are saying they are not getting a credible offering in Shawlands and the result is we are haemorrhaging business. The Shawlands Business Association aims to create one voice for local business owners and managers and provide a platform for them to meet and share ideas. We can also be a truly representative and strong lobby in discussions with Glasgow City Council, community groups and organisations.’
Glasgow City Council planner, Tim Mitchell added that a formal Association would be able to support and promote the development of the Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan. Such support would enable the Council to attract matched funding from other bodies and Government sources.
A lot of issues were discussed in the open meeting – from parking to litter, from signage to lack of public toilets. The idea to run a schools competition to design a logo for the new Shawlands Business Association, was universally approved.
Evelyn McQuarrie, manager of Ladbrokes seemed to voice everyone’s thoughts: ‘I care about Shawlands. Anything we can do has got to be good or the place will die a death.’
Afterwards Barry told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘People are doing something to help. I’m enthused by the attendance and the good ideas at this meeting. We’ve taken some small steps towards our goals and have realistic expectations.’ He said if the Association lobbied, the Town Centre Action Plan would materialise.
David Dunlop of the city’s DRS department who has provided professional back-up to the formation of the Association said: ‘the whole process has been a bit like trying to get a restored old Lancaster Bomber off the runway. At the meeting finally, we had all four engines bursting noisily into life and the plane rolling forward!’
For a one-year-old, the Shawlands base of Glasgow South East Regeneration Agency (GSERA) has a lot to celebrate. In the year since the team set up in a vacant shop on Kilmarnock Road at the entrance to the Shawlands Arcade, they have supported 30 new businesses, 40 volunteer placements, 50 qualifications and 50 jobs. So some birthday cake was dispensed among shoppers and traders in the Arcade when Shawlands Market stalls were open on their regular Thursday and Friday sessions.
Said Councillor Archie Graham, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Shawlands Town Centre Planning Group: ‘People living in the Shawlands area have a very valuable resource on their doorstep. This is particularly important in the current economic climate. I am delighted with GSERA’s work.’
Fraser Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of GSERA added: ‘We are particularly pleased that many of the new businesses we have worked with are now investing in premises of their own, recruiting staff and creating genuine economic return. We are also pleased to be working jointly with our partners in Glasgow South West Regeneration Agency to encourage new-start businesses.’
Among the fledgling businesses nurtured by GSERA is Safe Lettings. Launched by Saima Ahmed, 28, the company is an independent residential lettings and property management agency with an office in Shawlands. Said Saima who left school at 16: ‘I came into GSERA with a rough plan of what I wanted to do. I met with my advisor who helped me with all the things I needed to do before I started. They even helped me find business premises.’ Now, six months down the line, she comments: ‘The business is going really well. I’m glad I took the leap into self-employment. It’s really paid off.’
GSERA is one of the five local regeneration agencies serving the city. Staff work face-to-face with each client to help them build the better life they want through improving health, increasing skills and helping them find a job or start or develop a business. Apart from the Shawlands drop-in office, GSERA has similar offices in Castlemilk’s Glenwood business centre; Gorbals’ Adelphi Centre; Govanhill’s Victoria Road; East Pollokshields’ Shields Road and Toryglen’s Community Base in Prospecthill Square. See website: www.gsera.org.uk or phone the headquarters number: 0141 420 3573.