Last night I attended a packed meeting in the Gorgie Memorial Hall where the local community came together to oppose the SNP/Liberal Council's plan to close the centre together with 5 other facilities in the area as part of their latest cuts package.
I was able to offer campaigners the full support of the Scottish Socialist Party in their efforts to retain the facility for Gorgie.
I also made it clear that it will figure highly in my election campaign in Edinburgh South West since we, the SSP, oppose these cuts in community learning and development as well have consistently oped all others. Indeed we are the only party in this city who for the past ten years have opposed all the cuts carried out here. Until 2007 it was Labour Councillors who were shutting down our schools and community centres. Now it is those hypocritical SNP/Lib Dem Councillors elected 3 years ago on a 'No Cuts' promise. only the SSP has 'clean hands' because as a matter of principle we will not allow a rich city like this to claim it does not have the money to provide community support for our citizens.
Gorgie Memorial Hall is a well used local facility. More than 8,000 people used it last year, ranging from Mums and toddlers groups to senior citizens. Jim Aitken from the centre's Management Committee explained to the meeting that thousands of residents in the Gorgie area have already signed the petition to keep the Hall open. He also explained that the Hall has been in use as a community facility for 120 years and there are no other community facilities in the area which all the local groups can use. Since no SNP or Lib Dem Councillors were prepared to attend the meeting, campaigners decided to go up to the City Chambers next week to press officials into keeping the premises open.
The Education, Children and Families and Communities Committee meets in May to make the final decision.
In the meantime the SSP will host a public meeting in Gorgie on 8th April as part of our election campaign in South West Edinburgh and we will have campaigners from the 'Save Gorgie Memorial Hall' on our platform.