Origins of TRCCA
The idea of creating a Community Centre was first talked about in 2012 when South Lanarkshire Council informed Blackwood & Kirkmuirhill Co-ordination Group (BKCG) that, ‘if no one takes over the old Target Centre building (which had been lying unused for at least two years), the Council would give up its lease and the building would be lost to the community’.
So, a group of volunteers worked with the Council, Healthy Valleys, VASLAN and Universal Connections to get things moving, and Thornton Road Community Centre Association was formally constituted on 19th March 2013 (separately from BKCG).
However, two important criteria were laid down at the start by the Council; (1) the Centre must operate for the benefit of all ages in the community, with emphasis, where possible, on young people, and (2) it must be self-sustainable. The large amounts of Council grant money that were previously given towards projects that took place in the building in years gone by are simply no longer there, due to the recession and cut-backs in public spending.
So, it is important to know that the Community Centre is not run by the Council. It is run by TRCCA, which is a not-for-profit organisation (which became a charity on 17th June 2015) and is run entirely by local volunteers. With some initial and ongoing (but not guaranteed) funding from the Council, a grant from Patersons (via Land Trust) and a lot of hard work by the Board, the result is a new, vibrant facility on our doorstep.
Being self-sustainable means that the Centre has to be hired by organisations, groups or individuals who hire the Centre and provide activities ‘for the benefit of all ages in the community’. At the moment at least, we don't have a general open access policy (although there are two free weekly cafes running to which all are welcome), but hopefully this may change in future. Hire income has to pay for the running costs, which are not insignificant. The Board manages the use of Centre and has to ensure that the books balance in order for the Centre to survive.
At an Open Day in 2013, and a survey in 2018, residents were asked what they would like to see the Centre used for. Although we have tried to meet as many of the suggestions as we can, it has not been possible to meet them all, due to the following constraints.
What takes place at the Centre depends on the availability of appropriate organisations or individuals who have the skills, interest and the finance to hire the Centre and provide people-resources that result in activities being set up. Because all such bodies, in turn, depend on funding, there is an ongoing ebb and flow effect on what takes place at the Centre, as hirers' funding runs out and new applications are made, if possible.
The TRCCA Board is always on the look-out for additional provision of activities. To do this, three things are needed by either TRCCA or hirers – (1) funding, (2) projects to spend the money on and (3) appropriate trained/qualified people to run the projects. Getting all three at once is vital and is one of the major challenges that the voluntary sector faces anywhere.
If you, or anyone you know, would like to talk to a TRCCA Board member for more information, or about how they think they could assist or, better still, take an active part, please contact us here.
We would welcome enquiries from anyone who would like to to volunteer at the Centre and, in particular, people who have a background in administration or accounting, as well as anyone who is interested in becoming involved in the satisfying role of youth worker.
Snowballs roll faster when they pick up more good snow on the way…