Happy new year and we hope 2023 is a good year for everyone in Glassford and beyond.
This is really a make-or-break year for Glassford Community Group. We were established as a Scottish Incorporated Charitable Organisation in 2020 and we currently have three trustees (James Newall, Lisa Webb and Les Hoggan) and a number of volunteers, included in our Facebook group.
James has since stepped down as chairman of the group but will still get involved in the group if and when he is available. 2020 and 2021 were focussed on the development of a business plan and an application for the Community Asset Transfer of Glassford Village Hall. That application was approved by a committee of South Lanarkshire Council in December 2021, as was the award of a grant of £41,000 to cover the purchase cost and upkeep for around nine months following the handover to Glassford Community Group.
We have run three highly successful Beer and Gin Festivals and many music fundraisers since 2018, however there are no planned events yet agreed for 2023. We now need to make a pragmatic decision on how to proceed for the future, with the asset transfer not yet completed due to delays in the legal process. We cannot continue to complete the asset transfer until we are clear on a structure for Glassford Community Group to take us into ownership of the hall. That will involve significant management, financial and maintenance responsibilities which will be impossible with just three trustees and a reliance on volunteer availability.
We need a clear structure in place to ensure the successful transition to ownership and sound management of what would be a community asset and with plans for development of a community hub. The trustees are therefore asking for a community view on how we should proceed, and for volunteers to step up to help set out a management plan for the future. Without this we will have no option but to take the decision to withdraw from the Community Asset Transfer and to reassess the feasibility of continuing as a charity.
These decisions need to be taken as quickly as possible to avoid Glassford Community Group being left with an asset that it cannot effectively manage. The legal process to complete the asset transfer is continuing and we need to make a final decision quickly on the future of Glassford Community Group and also the Asset Transfer of the hall.
South Lanarkshire Council will already be in discussions on where next year’s budget will be going and will have no plans to provide further funding for the hall to keep it open due to approval for the Asset Transfer already having been agreed.
Approval for the Community Asset Transfer of Glassford Village Hall in December 2021 was based on a business plan developed by Glassford Community group after extensive community consultation showed that a community hub in the Village Hall was a high priority. Lisa and Les are happy to remain in their current positions if this is acceptable to the Group but only if we can agree an effective structure with adequate numbers actively involved to make the asset transfer work. Sadly, if we don’t get the commitment and help needed to effectively manage the hall, it may be closed/lost to the Glassford community forever and Glassford Community Group will be unable to continue as a charity.