Community centre will shut its doors

The chair of a community centre at the heart of Galashiels life for almost half a century says she now accepts the inevitability of its closure.

By Paul Kelly
Monday, 7th December 2020, 1:11 pm
Judith Cleghorn at the Focus Centre in Galashiels.
Judith Cleghorn at the Focus Centre in Galashiels.

The Focus Centre in Livingston Place is to permanently close and its users and the services it provides are set to be transferred to the new £55m Galashiels Academy community campus, earmarked for the town’s Scott Park.

Judith Cleghorn, chair at the centre for 25 years, speaking at a zoom meeting of Galashiels Community Centre, said: “We will have to go, but it’s five years down the line. My tenure at the Focus Centre will be coming to an end very soon and I’m not going to be here forever. Nobody is indispensable and we have to make sure there is a good succession.

“I have already been in contact with the architect and I have taken him around the Focus Centre to show him what we have and what we need and every room in the Focus Centre is used and is used to good purpose. The architect took that on board and he said to me that he thought I was quite right. The only thing he questioned us on was needing the size of hall that we do, so I showed him photographs of the afternoon teas etc.

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“He said that he would work very hard on our behalf so that we did get what we wanted and I have a great respect for him for doing that.

“I gave him all the figures he needed and a plan of the Focus Centre so that he knew the square footage and furnished him with everything he needed, so I did feel quite confident at that point that we were going to be involved. I would, however, like to be involved all the way through to make sure that we are able to give the nod to say what we do and do not like as we go along.

“From a Live Borders point of view I’d also like some input into the running of it once it is done.”

Since 1971 the Focus Centre has provided classes, groups, private functions, education, recreation and leisure and community events for the residents of Galashiels. It has always been run for the community by the community.