Property initiative helps bring crucial services to Govanhill

A growing community of social enterprises in Glasgow’s Govanhill is supporting residents with access to lifeline services, thanks to an initiative that aims to bring in third-sector organisations through affordable offices and commercial units.

All 30 spaces offered by the Govanhill Community Development Trust are now occupied for the first time in the organisation’s recent history, bringing a range of new services into the community.

Food Train, a charity providing groceries and home-cooked meals for the elderly and vulnerable people; Music Broth, an affordable musical instrument library; Women on Wheels, a social enterprise promoting healthy travel; and Glasgow’s Youth Community Support Agency (YCSA) are among the latest tenants to move into the Trust’s properties in the southside of the city.

Units are spread across three developments on Dixon Road and Hollybrook Place, as well as Samaritan House on Coplaw St, where the Trust and its parent organisation, Govanhill Housing Association, are headquartered.

Govanhill Community Development Trust recently received a grant of £30,000 from the Community Anchors’ Fund Glasgow – a partnership between the HFD Charitable Foundation and Virgin Money Foundation – to support its property management activities and new lettings with a dedicated team member. The Trust first received support from the Fund in 2021.

Income from the Trust’s rental properties is being put back into future-proofing its building stock, supporting aims to make it more sustainable. Govanhill Workspace, for example, is home to 18 units within a 100-year-old former church and the trust wants to ensure it can continue to house essential services for the Govanhill community for years to come.

Keith Kintrea, chair of Govanhill Community Development Trust, said, “GCDT is a part of Govanhill Housing Association which has provided warm, safe, affordable homes to local people for 50 years.  Similarly, GCDT looks to support local enterprises to access quality, affordable commercial property.  This is helping to create a thriving social enterprise scene, bringing in organisations that may not have otherwise chosen to locate in Govanhill.

“Our ambition is to support them for the benefit of everyone in the area, whether that is people looking for work experience or volunteering opportunities, or residents who will use the services offered from the likes of Food Train or Music Broth.

“The funding and ongoing support from the Community Anchors’ Fund Glasgow has been essential in helping us to get to a point where we have reached full occupancy for the first time.”

Lauren McKenzie, ambassador for the HFD Charitable Foundation, added, “The Community Anchors’ Fund was set up to support good causes that are making a huge difference to local communities. We have been working with Govanhill Community Development Trust for several years and continue to be impressed with the way it is using its building stock to its advantage, helping local people by bringing additional third-sector organisations to the thousands of people living in Govanhill.”

Nancy Doyle-Hall, executive director of Virgin Money Foundation, commented, “Good housing, sustainable social enterprises and services that meet the needs of local residents are key building blocks in a thriving community. Govanhill Community Development Trust has an innovative model that is regenerating their local neighbourhood and supporting local people. Through the Community Anchors’ Fund we are delighted to be supporting this organisation as they work to create lasting change.”