The Tollcross Leisure Centre could become one of the first major facilities to be turned into a ‘local legacy’ of the Commonwealth Games, if Accord Centre users’ wishes come true.
The users’ group has been attending the Accord Centre in Dalmarnock on a daily basis because they are families caring for someone with special needs such as Autism, Downs Syndrome and other complex conditions.
The East End centre is to be demolished and the regular users dispersed across the city. But a group of about 30 families have said they were promised ‘like for like’ facilities when told the centre was to be closed. This week more than 150 people campaigned on their behalf in the nearby Forge Shopping Centre because they consider what they’ve been offered in place of the Accord facilities is not good enough for the vulnerable users’ needs. ‘This is to draw attention to what is happening,’ said a spokesman for Citzens United, one of the campaigning groups.
Glasgow City Council officials and senior personnel from the Scottish Government discussed the Tollcross ‘legacy’ possibility this week.
Said Grace Harrigan, one of the leaders of the Accord Centre Action Group: ‘Some of us visited a Lifestyle Centre in Cambuslang to see what South Lanarkshire offered its vulnerable community members. I wept when I saw it. It was everything we could wish for. There was a swimming pool, gyms, film room, cafe, art room and facilities for people with special needs like our sons and daughters. But it was also open to the public in a way that was safe for the vulnerable users but integrated with the general public.’
A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: ‘We have been working on reforms to our learning disability service for well over three years now and the closure to the Accord Centre has to be seen as part of those reforms. The closure of the Accord centre is in line with Scottish Government’s policy. The majority of carers actually support a move away from the Accord Centre and some people have already gone to alternative accommodation.’ He added: ‘The changes being implemented will see service users continue to receive appropriate and tailored levels of support while also providing greater scope and flexibility for individuals to follow their interests and aspirations.’
Later the City Council spokesperson confirmed the meeting with the Scottish Government. He said: ”David Crawford, the council’s executive director of Social Work Services, met with the Scottish Government and representatives of the minority of carers who are not content to move to the Bambury Centre. The carers, who previously insisted on a like-for-like facility, have now raised the possibility of using the community facilities at Tollcross Leisure Centre. It is exceptionally helpful that the carers have changed their position and now agree with the Council and the Scottish Government that a community facility is an acceptable alternative to the Accord Centre. A substantial amount of work needs to be done on this proposal and we are seeking clarity from the Scottish Government on what exactly is proposed.’
A comment was awaited from the Scottish Government as this report was activated on this website.
TOLLCROSS LEISURE FACILITIES
Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life have undertaken a £14 million revamp of Tollcross Glasgow Club premises to prepare for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. The investment will produce two 50 metre swimming pools, one of the biggest gyms in Glasgow with more than 1000 pieces of equipment, a refurbished games hall, new dance studio and a range of function spaces for competitive and community health and fitness events.
During the Games it will host swimming events and, subsequently, major international championships and it will ‘meet the needs of the local community.’ says Glasgow Life website. The work will take about 14 months to complete and has started with the completion of an additional car park. The ‘wet side’ facilities will close to the public on Sunday 23 October 2011. The rest of the building remains open until mid December 2011. The re-newed complex is seheduled to reopen in the spring of 2013.