THE CHAIRMAN of Monifieth Community Centre Steering Group (MCCSG), Mrs Margaret Copland, has called on the people of the town to come forward and provide support to help turn a dream into reality.
At a meeting in the Panmure Hotel, Monifieth, on Thursday those present unanimously agreed that the top priority to improve the standard of life in the burgh is the provision of a community activity resource centre.
MCCSG has led a campaign for such a provision for some 10 years but feels progress has stalled.
Thursday’s meeting was organised by the Angus Community Planning Team and was a follow-on to a similar gathering which took place in October of last year.
Mrs Copland said: “We as a group have undertaken the task on behalf of local residents to work in partnership with Angus Council representatives to achieve this goal.
“It has been a very busy year for the 12 individuals who make up the officials and committee from a population of over 12,500. However, MCCSG now has over 200 paid up members all of whom advocate the need for community accommodation. Many of these members have volunteered to assist in many ways to move the centre project forward.”
She explained that local groups and organisations now have a base - the Community Cabin - and meet regularly in central Monifieth, within walking distance of the High Street with no hills to climb, on the bus route and with car parking space available.
However, she stressed this is not enough.
She explained: “Health and safety regulations enforced the curtailment of activities held within the Burgh Chambers and part of Monifieth Library. Closure of the church property halls and other circumstances contributed to the problem.
“MCCSG entered into negotiations with representatives of Angus Council for the lease of a derelict portable cabin within the grounds of Invertay House.
“With the assistance of a grant from Angus Council of £4,968 to replace the services removed in the demolition process which had been ongoing, we were eventually able to make available to the residents of Monifieth what is now known as the Community Cabin.
“A shortfall of almost £800 in the refurbishment costs was met by the MCCSG and had the labour costs involved been evaluated then MCCSG contributed almost £9,000 towards the provision of temporary accommodation for restricted activities within central Monifieth
“Already the Community Cabin has become a popular venue for many activities, despite restrictions on noise, numbers of people within the building and consideration of the condition of the floor. It would appear we are meeting a small percentage of the needs of Monifieth community.
“Sad to say there have been requests from groups we have had to decline and other needs we have not been able to address.”
Mrs Copland went on: “Hopefully with the provision of a purpose built centre there will be allowance made for dancing, youth activities, five-a-side football, exercise, exhibitions and displays, business seminars, in fact all the other activities taking place in other towns in Angus with a population in excess of 12,500.
“The lease of the portable cabin from Angus Council, for which MCCSG pay a considerable rent, is only until March, 2013, at which time the demolition process will be reactivated.
“In this period of time MCCSG will be required to have in position planning permission and the finances necessary for the building of a purpose built community activities resource centre.
“We are working within the timescale set for us by Angus Council, who have committed themselves to the provision of a suitable site for the centre and will provide £300,000, less the value of the site, towards the cost of a building appropriate for multi-purpose use.
“We have approached the Big Lottery Funding Group and are in negotiations with their representatives regarding the possibility of funding for the project.”
She revealed that MCCSG has applied for funding to finance a professional feasibility study regarding the location of a building, what that building would accommodate but, most important of all, what the residents of Monifieth want.
Mrs Copland revealed that the steering group has presented to various professional bodies a brief to which they responded by declaring an interest in carrying out the required feasibility study for a fee. She added that application has been made for funding sources for grants to cover these costs and stated that from nine submitted tenders returned declaring interest in the work, four have been selected by the group to move on to the interview stage.
She stated: “With the selection of the appropriate candidate then the community centre project will move on to phase two with the involvement of architects, builders planners and financiers.”
However, she called for the people of Monifieth to work together towards achieving the dream. Mrs Copland said: “We as a group have over 10 years worked hard to achieve Monifieth’s dream. What we need now most of all is you, the groups and organisations, the residents of Monifieth to work together with us and our partners, Angus community planning officers, to achieve that dream.
“You can do that by helping us with fund-raising, supporting the work we are prepared to undertake on behalf of the Monifieth community. Without your support to achieve what has for many, many years been Monifieth’s community dream, all our efforts will have been of no avail.”