One of the first donations to Govanhill Baths Community Trust’s new charity Emporium in Victoria Road, was a Chinese dinner set from MSP Patrick Harvie. He had lodged a motion of support for the Trust’s efforts to re-open the Baths in Calder Street as a Health and Wellbeing Centre.
A strong supporter of the Trust’s work, he said their offices are about to move into the Baths building to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the closure of the public facility by Glasgow City Council. Said the Green MSP: “The move of offices will be a landmark moment in this hard-fought campaign.”
His motion at Holyrood commended the: “impressive hard work and energy of the Trust’s committed volunteers over the last decade.”He added: “I believe the baths will benefit hugely the citizens of Govanhill and the surrounding area.”
Raising funds towards the £12m needed to re-open the Baths, the Emporium was described by Patrick Harvie as: “a really great example of how creative, positive and passionate people can be when it comes to investing and supporting their communities. I wish the Govanhill Baths Community Trust success and look forward to being invited to the opening of the baths as well as the wellbeing centre!”
The next major fund raising venture will be an auction of art works from Thursday 17 March to Saturday 19 March. See www.bathsauction .com
Emporium manager, Inga Zaiceva is delighted with her job in Victoria Road as it gives around five times more space to display goods for sale, than the previous shop in Calder Street. She said: “The Baths and Wellbeing centre are badly needed. There are people in this area without showers. The community health problems of overweight and lonelieness need to be addressed. The re-opening of the Baths would help a lot to improve things.”
Story and photograph Stuart Maxwell
As Reported in LOCAL NEWS this past November, a community campaign gathered nearly 700 signatures in opposition of Post Office’s proposed relocation to Cathcart Road.
At the time of the campaign a Post Office spokesperson told LOCAL NEWS that any complaints to the proposal will be taken into consideration before a final decision is made.
However, feeling in the community was one of let down with the news that the post office on Victoria Road will close its doors for the last time on Tuesday February 1.
Campaigner and Govanhill community council member Iain McInnes saying at the time: ‘As a community we have seen no evidence to show that proper procedures for other people to put their names forward to run this post office.’
A new hybrid service will open at 8.30am on Tuesday February 2 and is located at 540 Cathcart Road. The Post Office will be shared with another retail venture.
By Stuart Maxwell and Elyas Hussain
An award winning Post Office in the heart of Glasgow’s Southside is poised to be shut down despite fierce community opposition who see the service as vital.
There are plans for Crosshill Post Office, Victoria Road, to be closed and relocated to 540 Cathcart Road- where it will be a hybrid service, integrated with another retail venture. This comes a little over a year after the branch was awarded ‘Best Town and City’ Post Office in Scotland.
Fiercely opposed to the relocation, Iain MacInnes, Govanhill and Crosshill Community Council secretary, has headed a local campaign. Said Iain: ‘We have nearly 700 signatures from the local community in opposition to this. People are showing great displeasure. Post Office provisions have cut heavily all over the Southside. All such cuts are morally bankrupt. It is an iconic building to all cultures. They see it as part of their community being taken away.’
Iain’s campaign has been supported by Nicola Sturgeon, local MSP and Government Minister. In a letter to Post Office Ltd. Nicola wrote: ‘Many in the area doubt the business viability of such a ‘dual purpose’ branch and fear that if it wasn’t successful, it would not be too long before a proposal was forthcoming to close the branch altogether.’
Govanhill resident Brian Rowinson is one of many angry at the proposed closure. The 39 year-old told LOCAL NEWS: ‘If they close this post office it will effect the elderly community because Crosshill is within walking distance. The new premises are smaller- how will they possibly accommodate all the customers? It’s horribly ironic that Crosshill Post Office won the Post Office of the Year and is being closed?
The LOCAL NEWS has been told by Post Office Ltd that the decision to advertise the franchise was taken after the business went in to receivership in December 2009, and that the sole applicant wants to move the service to Cathcart Road. Julie Morrison, Head of External Relations for Post Office Ltd said: ‘She (the applicant), wants to relocate to Cathcart Road. Rents and rates on Victoria Road make it an nonviable option. This is the best solution available to us.’
Iain MacInnes is not convinced: ‘As a community we have seen no evidence to show that there were proper procedures for other people to put their names forward to run this post office.’
The period for consultation, allowing the public to respond to the proposal, ended on October 26. Julie Morrison has pledged that Post Office Ltd ‘will take all all submissions into consideration before making a final decision.’ Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, who has presented a motion to the Scottish Parliament against the relocation, fears community views will be shelved
Said Patrick: ‘The decision to close and relocate has been taken too early.. I don’t think the Post Office have explored all options for maintaining the service on Victoria Road. The branch on Victoria Road is clearly more accessible for the local community. There have been many reductions to Post Office services in the Southside and there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough. The peoples’ wishes tend to be ignored but this decision has stirred enough reaction to make the Post Office think again.’
In 2007, David Meikle, Councillor for Pollokshields, led a protest against Post Office plans to close a branch on Kildrostin Street. 1300 signatures were gathered but the closure went ahead. David told LOCAL NEWS: ‘At the time, the Post Office cited a new service on Shields Road and Crosshill itself as alternatives. We were promised two counters in the Shields Road hybrid, but have only one. To now hear that Crosshill is to close is really a piece of nonsense. You get the impression there is no real consultation period and that it’s a done deal. This will be another nail in the coffin for the vitality of Victoria Road.’
The new Ucare charity shop in Govanhill, which manages and raises money for Rajana and Chichawatni Foundation hospitals in Pakistan, was opened by Lord Provost Bob Winters recently.
The Lord Provost cut a ribbon outside the shop and said: ‘This charity does amazing work in providing cheap healthcare. For those who cannot afford to pay, it is free.
‘Many lives have been saved as a result. I hope the shop will raise even more money for the hospitals. I am happy to support this project and the work it does.’
Also in attendance were Ucare Foundation committee members including Mohammad Sarwar, the MP for Glasgow Central, who is chairman of Rajana Foundation Hospital.
Rajana was set up in 2005 after Mr Sarwar visited Pakistan, where lack of affordable healthcare in rural areas is a major public health concern.
Rajana hospital is in Punjab, at the junction of highways to four major towns – Pir Mahal, Toba Tek Singh, Kamalia and Sumundari.
It has more than 120 staff and 65 beds. Since its establishment, it has dealt with 142,888 patients, carried out 3576 operations and costs £250,000 every year to run.
Chichawatni was set up 2008, and has 45 beds and 65 staff. Staff treat 5,000 patients a month and the hospital costs £120,000 every year to run.
Both hospitals have 24/7 accident and emergency cover, ambulances and pharmacies.
Mr Sarwar said: ‘I would like to say a big thank-you to everybody who has worked really hard to open the shop, especially the committee members.
‘The aim of the shop is to raise money for both hospitals and to raise awareness of the invaluable work that we do. As people cannot afford to pay anything, it is subsidised and this includes operations, medications and any other treatments for any type of illnesses.’
The shop took two months to open, has two staff members and 20 volunteers.
The shop manager at 320 Victoria Road is Salman Siddique, who told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘We are really delighted to have the shop open, finally. It has been really hard work. Before we opened we had received many donations. We will continue to welcome more from members of the public.’