Mar 2 2011 by Michael Pringle, Airdrie & Coatbridge
THE front doors to Old Wellwynd Church in Airdrie were officially opened on Monday.
The former church had lain disused for 15 years but this week the doors were open once more to welcome the local community.
No longer a place of worship, it now provides a central location within the town for the provision of services and support.
The C-listed building has been given a new lease of life as a modern new enterprise resource centre; One Wellwynd.
Following a feasibility study in 2001, a partnership was formed between North Lanarkshire Council and Clyde Valley Housing Association and work began to transform the church into a centre for voluntary sector and community organisations.
Lead designer Fiona Hainey, from GCA Architecture and Design, was responsible for overseeing the building’s metamorphosis from a church into One Wellwynd.
The £4m development is managed by Clyde Valley Housing Association and now houses resources such as Monklands Women’s Aid, South Coatbridge Credit Union and Routes to Work; a Big Partnership venture aimed at guiding unemployed people in the community into work and training.
The former church retains many of its original features complimenting the contemporary interior and the architects’ use of sleek new modern materials.
Reverend Robbie Hamilton, from the New Wellwynd Church, presented the centre with a painting of the Old Church to mark the opening. He said: “Landmarks take many forms and churches form vital landmarks up and down the country. There’s been a church on this site since the 17th century.
“The church was sold to the council in 1995 so that it could be used to do something for the community.
“I’m delighted with what has happened and with the sensitive way that the building has been treated. It’s becoming a real place in the heart of the community.”
Also housed within the new centre is the Mobile Play in Action Group, providing a creche, breakfast club and after school care. Airdrie Citizens Advice Bureau are utilising a space as are Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire and Cornerstone Community Care.
Tom Barclay, chief executive of Clyde Valley Group said: “These types of regeneration projects are the most difficult to tackle but the most essential. What’s been created here is a community asset and it’s been transformed from a derelict site into a high quality space that will transform lives.”
Karen Whitefield MSP also attended the opening. She said: “The centre will be of enormous benefit to the whole community. It provides a comfortable and efficient working environment for some of our most important local services, helping to improve communications between different organisations and enabling them to work together more efficiently.
“Great credit must go to the partner agencies behind One Wellwynd Place, especially key stakeholders Clyde Valley Housing Association and North Lanarkshire Council.”