Committee members and service users at a popular Galashiels community centre focus on the future

A vital community resource in Galashiels will not be leaving its ‘home’ in the town, its committee and service users have decided.

By Paul Kelly
Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 10:41 am
Judith Cleghorn at the Focus Centre. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)
Judith Cleghorn at the Focus Centre. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)

It had been planned that the Focus Centre in Livingston Place would permanently close and its service users transfer to the town’s new £55m community school campus, currently earmarked for Scott Park and with an opening date of 2025.

But after considering the offer the centre’s committee and service users have unanimously decided to stay ‘home’.

In the longer term an asset transfer may be considered.

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That would involve the committee taking over the running of the centre from Live Borders.

Meanwhile, the centre is set to open its doors post-lockdown on Monday, August 30, subject to no further restrictions being introduced before then.

Judith Cleghorn, centre chair for more than 25 years, said: “The centre is so busy through the day and over the last five years in particular we have really emphasised the family feel of the centre and the fact that you can drop in for a coffee when you want to and there’s always someone there you can have a chat with, we have the afternoon teas that have been hugely successful.

"With what we were being offered at the new school we could hire any room that was available but the rooms allocated to us were not suitable because they wouldn’t be ‘ours’.

"In the Focus Centre we have ten rooms and we can use them as we wish to and people have things they leave in cabinets for the next day or the next week, but we wouldn’t be able to do that at the new school.

"We wouldn’t be able to have the family feel that we have got now.

"I didn’t think it was suitable for the Focus Centre, so what I did was ask every member of the committee and every user group and there wasn’t one that said that it would be a great idea to go there.

"I asked SBC some time ago if we had to go and the answer was no, so we’re not.

"We will continue to work with and under Live Borders for the foreseeable future but we will be looking longer term at the possibility of asset transfer which would mean taking the centre over and running it ourselves.”