Loanhead centre goes from the brink to a Link to brighter future

The former Kabin in Loanhead is to be extended, less than a year after the community centre faced closure following a financial collapse.

Staff and service users at The Link in Loanhead celebrate the funding boost.

Now called The Link, the community centre’s owners LASC Childcare Services has secured £100,000 from the Weston Anniversary Fund to extend and refurbish the main hall, install new kitchens and make the building more disabled accessible.

Irene Hogg, the charity’s chief executive, believes that with new housing bringing many more people to the area it was crucial that they could expand and meet rising demand for services. She said: “Loanhead is a growing town, which requires spaces and projects to maintain community cohesion and combat isolation and loneliness.

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“We are absolutely delighted to receive this grant from Garfield Weston.

“This will enable us to bring the Link building back to where it should be, at the heart of the community once again.

“This grant will mean so much to our community as it will allow us to address isolation and loneliness for people of all ages and abilities by making the building usable and accessible for wheelchair users and others with mobility difficulties, including both children and older people.”

The community centre re-opened in January after LASC took over the management of the former Kabin in December 2017, with the future of the building in real doubt following the dissolution of its operators Loanhead Community Learning Association. That came just seven years after the purpose built community centre was opened.

Julia Critchley, who runs the Parents and Tots group at The Link,explained how important this extension would be to groups like hers.

She said: “We are so excited about the extension because it will really improve on what we do for the community.

“Our messy play session is so popular – sometimes we are so busy we cannot fit all the children in the room, so the extra space will be brilliant.

“We have a lovely baby group but want to extend it to toddlers as well. So far we have been limited by space, but now the bigger room will mean there will be space for toddlers so that many more children can benefit.”

LASC Childcare Services offers pre-school, children and youth services for over 650 children a year, including over 30 with additional support needs.