Govanhill Baths is one of Scotland’s most inspiring stories of community determination and empowerment. For more than 18 years, an under-resourced and diverse group of residents have been leading the challenges to keep this vital facility open, forming the Govanhill Baths Community Trust. The goal of the Govanhill Baths Community Trust has always been to reopen the Govanhill Baths as a Health and Wellbeing Centre and at the same time contribute to the wider social, cultural and built regeneration of Govanhill as a community.
To us, it’s more than just about a building, but about developing community capacity and pride, and helping to tackle the deep-rooted problems Govanhill faces.
Govanhill is one of Scotland’s most ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse communities, as well as one of its most deprived and Govanhill Baths Community Trust’s mission has always been to support this unique community. Our aim is to be able to provide a space where the Govanhill Baths will be returned to their original function, and once again sit at the heart of community life in Govanhill.
In late 2014 we began the development phase of the refurbishment raising a total investment of £6.7 million, £260,000 of which came from almost 600 investors in our Community Shares.
In mid 2018 GBCT set up Govanhill Baths Building Preservation Trust (GBBPT) to help deliver Phase 1b of the refurbishment of the Baths. The GBBPT Board consists of a range of people with backgrounds in conservation, regeneration, property and construction. On behalf of GBCT, GBBPT are working with the new Project Director, David Cook of Cook Creative, and the existing Phase1b design team to develop the delivery phase of the £6.7 million capital project that will see the Govanhill Baths refurbished and brought back into community use as a Wellbeing Centre.
Phase1b is programmed to go out to tender in late 2019 with a start on site date targeted for spring 2020 and the Baths scheduled to reopen in summer 2021 It will see the reopening of the Ladies’ Pool; the Learners’ Pool; a Turkish Suite; conserve the building’s envelope and make it wind and water tight; complete the refurbishment of the front suite; and set up the Steamie so it can be used as flexible accommodation for a range of activities and services.
In addition to the newly refurbished space, the redevelopment will provide learning opportunities for local people to experience the building’s heritage through individuals and the community being able to engage in activities which relate to the facilities’ original bathing function, as well as a range of engagement activities focused on the building’s history that will leave the community’s cultural fingerprint throughout the building.
The refurbished spaces will also support the expansion of the existing Wellbeing Programme of events and the social enterprise initiatives for people in Govanhill. These initiatives, which respond to a recognised need in the area, provide opportunities for employment, volunteering and vocational development, recreational and physical exercise that are currently space-restricted.
- Capital works for the conservation of the external envelope to ensure it is wind and watertight
- The refurbishment of the front suite
- The re-opening of the Ladies’ and Learners’ pools
- Turkish baths with sauna and steam room
- Community kitchen
- A range of flexible spaces and meeting rooms which will provide accommodation for a broad range of cultural, sporting and cross-community activities and events
- Hot-desk facilities for local business and voluntary organisations
- The Steamie as a community events and arts space for hire
Phase 1b Aims and Objectives
The aims and objectives of this phase in the refurbishment of the Baths are to:
- Secure perpetual ownership of the Govanhill Baths building, for the benefit of the community today and for future generations;
- Establish the most robust structure possible to ensure full community control and influence over the facility;
- Create a multi-functional complex that is responsive to the diverse and changing needs of Govanhill and surrounding areas;
- Capitalise on opportunities from the facility to build the skills, knowledge, confidence, and cohesion of the community;
- Maximise earned income from the centre, to ensure its long-term financial viability and to enable reinvestment in the community;
- and Develop the centre as a model of environmental sustainability, achieving the strongest possible impact locally and globally.
The Govanhill Baths once reopened, as the Govanhill Wellbeing Centre, will again become a central resource and community asset that will make a significant contribution to improving the health, social, cultural, educational, environmental and employment-related outcomes for the community and people of Govanhill. United We Will Swim!