East Renfrewshire Council officially opened up its new community enterprise hub in Barrhead’s Cowan Park yesterday afternoon.

Based in the newly renovated gate lodge building, charity Include Me 2 Club (IM2C), have set up a social enterprise hub, café, bike workshop, meeting space and public toilets which can be used by the local community and visitors to the park.

A 30-year lease has been handed to IM2C, who will pay a rent of £1 per year for the facility after cabinet members at the council agreed the deal.

Barrhead News: The newly renovated gatelodge buildingThe newly renovated gatelodge building (Image: Sourced)

Paul McIlvenny, IM2C chairperson, said: “Myself and the team are thrilled to have our new hub here in Cowan Park.

“It will provide the community with the option to grab a drink or a bite to eat, meet friends and local groups or speak to our cycling experts in the area’s first Active Travel Hub.

“We’ve already created eight new jobs here - two of which are young people who’ve come through our employability programme for those with additional support needs and disabilities – so we look forward to expanding this programme.

“If you’re in Cowan Park with the kids or walking the dog be sure to pop in and see us.”

The 1.2m revamp, which has revived the park’s historic gatekeeper’s building, was part-funded by the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and the local authority.

Following previous consultations with the community, the overwhelming majority felt the priorities should be toilets, food provision and CCTV, which have all been delivered.

Barrhead News: Catherine Kennedy, Deputy Provost Kate Campbell and Include Me 2 Club active travel officer Steven RutherfordCatherine Kennedy, Deputy Provost Kate Campbell and Include Me 2 Club active travel officer Steven Rutherford (Image: Sourced)

Councillor Kate Campbell, the Deputy Provost of East Renfrewshire, told the Barrhead News: “I am absolutely delighted to see this new hub open.

“Not only has it brought this historic building back to life but has also put in place facilities that the local community have told us they want to see.

“I’d like to express our thanks to everyone who played their part in this project.”

Councillor Danny Devlin, the local authority’s environment and housing convener, added: “Cowan Park is a fantastic public space which already provides Barrhead residents and beyond with opportunities for sport, exercise and play, and this project provides much-needed amenities.

“It will also deliver job and training opportunities through the excellent work of IM2C.

“I wish them all the best in this new venture.”

Barrhead News: Catherine Kennedy who was born in the buildingCatherine Kennedy who was born in the building (Image: Sourced)

Also in attendance at the opening event was Catherine Kennedy who was born in the building in 1951.

The original gate lodge building provided a home to the park’s superintendent and Catherine’s father was ‘Parkie’ from 1943 until he retired in 1972.

She said: “It’s lovely to see the newly renovated gate lodge. I’ve got a lot of happy memories from living here.

"As a child, it was great living in the gate lodge and having Cowan Park as my back garden. I look forward to popping in for a coffee.”

The new facility is open 9am until 5pm, seven days a week.