Govanhill Baths recognise that these are difficult, uncertain times for people – locally, across Scotland and globally. We therefore felt it was important to let people know what we are doing, where plans for our building are and what other activities we are undertaking.
We are committed to being a part of our community and the regeneration of our neighbourhood – led by and for the needs of local people, and we will do all in our power to remain true to this vision.
To do so we have to operate in an increasingly difficult environment – financially and in terms of our partners and the pressures on them and local services. This has become more acute since the start of the year, with work on progressing the restoration of Govanhill Baths not being straightforward and suffering complications and delays due to the COVID19 pandemic.
We are committed to delivering and remaining true to our vision and to being as accountable and transparent as possible in what we do. The main capital project of Govanhill Baths aims to restore the ladies and learner pools and create a new gym and other community facilities along with a café while making the remainder of the baths wind and watertight, and was put out to tender immediately prior to lockdown.
The construction sector was badly hit by lockdown with companies closing down and staff on furlough and as a result we are still working through clarifications of the tender returns. Now lockdown is easing, construction is slowly getting going once more. Although we have had unavoidable delays, we are now nearly at the point of confirming project costs.
We also face the complications – as happens in many ambitious construction projects – of the tenders coming in over budget. This has meant we have had to go through a ‘value engineering’ exercise to bring costs and expenditure into alignment while looking for additional funding. None of this has been aided by COVID19 which has introduced additional constraints on working in the building and making sure all site personnel are safe.
We are committed to making the main capital project of Govanhill Baths happen and are in discussions with all our funders – including the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Lottery Community Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, Glasgow City Council, and the Scottish Government. We hope and expect that our long-term relationships with all of our funders will continue to see them view the baths as a priority, ‘shovel ready’ project for Govanhill and as an exemplar to others of local led regeneration.
We know that the delays in bringing about the regeneration and renewal of Govanhill Baths are deeply frustrating and that in these difficult times the work of a community led health and well-being centre such as ours is more important than it ever was. The world is not going back to any kind of ‘normalcy’ anytime soon, and that means that the energy, commitment and support which thousands of local people have shown in the idea of Govanhill Baths will be centrestage in all of our work over the coming period.
Govanhill Baths Community Trust has also been active during the COVID19 pandemic working with the community, local people and groups, strengthening and nurturing local relationships, building capacity and solidarity, and supporting and involving a range of community partners. In all our work we recognise the centrality of community voice and have been involved in setting up a range of services and initiatives – some of which are listed below:
- A new digital inclusion project in partnership with Remade Network delivering 250 refurbished personal computers to the local community and a further 250 to wider Glasgow residents.
- Supporting the Somali Association, Romano Lav and the Irish Community- 600+ people on a weekly basis in delivering emergency response activities (including 450 food parcels, 100+ mother-toddler essentials, and 100+children’s activity packs) to their communities with Wellbeing Fund resources.
- A new Govanhill Youth Club with Rumpus Room for summer food programme for 40 young people as well as opening its new dedicated Youth Base on Cathcart road.
- A new Street Music event for Govanhill Festival involving 60 musicians in partnership with Ando Glaso, Music Broth and Big Noise through Govanhill Creative Group.
- Supporting Romano Lav to procure and distribute new tablets to 115 Roma children from the local area.
- A new Asylum seekers and Refugees Covid Support programme through Scottish Refugee Council supporting 50+ refugees and asylum seekers with food and digital technology
- A new Somali Association elderly walking group and a family well-being bike project with Bike for Good for 75 families.
- The Govanhill Growing project (providing 125 residents with vegetable and flower growing packs) in partnership with Urban Roots.
- Work towards the Govanhill Festival which is supported by Govanhill Thriving Places Creativity Group and Govanhill Community Development Trust involving 82 artists and 13 local businesses and organisations.
- Delivering mental health creativity packs to 350+ isolated local people in the G41/G42 postcodes supported by the NHS Health Improvement Team and Women’s Health Network.
- Delivering 500+ wellbeing postcards aimed at digitally disengaged people as the Trust’s contribution towards a Govanhill Beyond the Pandemic – a collective community artwork, celebrating the resilience and unity of our community.
- Launching the People’s Pantry in partnership with Strath Foodsharing aimed at providing a sustainable approach to food poverty.
- Supporting 60 shielded individuals, (elderly and those recovering from addiction) with shopping vouchers and free data.
We will be looking at ways people and the many communities which make up Govanhill can come together to celebrate and champion the diversity and richness of our area. And we welcome hearing from others their suggestions on what we can do together to make Govanhill an even more dynamic and inclusive community: a place all of us are proud to call home.