In an interview with local activist, Sean Clerkin, for In The City magazine, the First Minister Alex Salmond has once again made verbal assurances that he will create a permanent legacy for Accord Centre users at the Tollcross Aquatic Centre:
“I will personally acts as a Guardian Angel to the people of the Accord Centre. I want a permanent legacy at Tollcross of a carers’ centre for the Accord Centre users“.
Sean Clerkin, commenting on the interview afterwards said:
“The First Minister said he was especially impressed by the carers and the users of the Accord centre in the way they have behaved and the case they have made for a new centre“
“He agreed that the Harry Burns Centre in South Lanaerkshire could be replicated at the Tollcross Aquatic Centre giving a lasting legacy form the Commonwealth Games to the Accord Centre Carers and Users“
“He also said that an SNP-led administration would consider all possibilities in relation to the to their interim accomodation which at the present time is unacceptable, with 50 centre users being forced by the Glasgow Labour’s administration to occupy two rooms in the Bambury Community Centre in Barrowfield“.
In addition, Mr.Clerkin further commented, “campaigners wanted the Accord Centre to be given a permanent home within the Tollcross Aquatic Centre after the Commonwealth Games in 2014 when it will be a major venue. The accord has been closed and uis scheduled to be demolished to make way for a coach park for the Games. Alex Salmond has given his personal assurance this will happen and ensured the Scottish Goverbment has given £150,000 to take the idea forward with all parties working together to achieve this outcome“
This comes on the back of a letter to the East End Carers group by Mr Salmond in March 2012, where he said he would “ensure” a modern facilty in the Tollcross Aquatic Centre as good as the excellent Harry Burns Complex in South Lanarkshire:
“There is a real opportunity in the medium and long term to influence the shape of the new Aquatic Centre when it is adapted for community use following the Commonwealth Games in 2014
“This brand new modern resource could be adapted to offer a similar facility to that which you saw when you visited the Harry Smith complex.”
“I have therefore asked my officials, working in conjunction with Glasgow City Council, to prepare a funding package to ensure a modern facility along the lines I have described above is created within the Tollcross Aquatic Centre after the Games in 2014 have taken place“.
While the context of this interview is loaded with pre-election SNP-promotional bias, the important thing to recognise is that the First Minister continues to make assurances that The Accord Centre Users and Carers will be relocated to modern facilities in the Tollcross Aquatic Centre. That he has been forced to do so, is testament to the brilliant campaign for modern disability facilities in the East End of Glasgow waged by the Carers and Users.
However, while these ‘assurances’ are more than welcome the Users and Carers, and the people of the East End in general, need more than just verbal promises about the Tollcross Aquatic Centre. Also, the Bambury Centre is totally inadequate to serve the needs of people with severe learning difficulties. That issue is pressing and requires more than just assurances.
See the full interview and comment in In The City magazine, on pages 8-9 here