The Gorbals is in South East Glasgow, located just to the south of the River Clyde. It is bounded by the Clyde to the north; the city boundary to the east; the M74 to the south; and Ellington Street to the west. The Gorbals Thriving Place takes in the neighbourhoods of the Gorbals, Hutchesontown and Oatlands.
The Gorbals has a noted history of population surges and associated physical and soc i-economic challenges from the 1930s - early 1980s. Significant regeneration has taken place since the late 1980s, when both the Crown Street Regeneration Project and New Gorbals Housing Association were established. However, despite huge improvements in the physical environment, there are still serious issues relating to unemployment and poverty; drug and alcohol misuse; and health. This imbalance led to the establishment of the Gorbals Regeneration Group which brings together all the main public and voluntary sector organisations working in the Gorbals, with the aim of ensuring that the successful physical regeneration of the area is matched by economic and social regeneration.
Today, the Gorbals Regeneration Group leads on the development of Gorbals Thriving Place, with New Gorbals Housing Association as the anchor organisation.
The Gorbals was one of the first Thriving Places to go live, in August 2013. Gorbals Thriving Places achievements to date include:
- Spirit of the Gorbals - part of Spirit of 2012's Glasgow Commonwealth Games legacy programme Fourteen, the Gorbals was one of the 14 communities across the UK to have received a resource budget of up to £250,000 to invest in activity that local people themselves believe will make a difference to well-being and happiness within their community. Spirit of the Gorbals is the local name for the Fourteen programme in the Gorbals. The programme ran from January 2015 through to December 2017. Read more about the project here.
- Launch of Glasgow South Working Rite - a youth employability programme in partnership between New Gorbals Housing Association, Southside Housing Association and Working Rite. 44 local young people have been involved in the programme over the past two years. Read more about the project here:www.workingrite.co.uk.
- Launch of Go Get Gorbals - development and launch of a new website, designed to be a social exchange platform for the Gorbals area. To date, the site has just under 300 registered members and has promoted almost 900 community events. Visit the website here: www.gogetgorbals.org.
The Covid-19 pandemic meant that Thriving Places in the Gorbals changed the focus of its ongoing work to help support emergency projects in the local area. The usual weekly community breakfast sessions were cancelled and various events were postponed such as the Gorbals Fair, Party in the Piazza, Volunteer Week, Streetplay, Halloween and Christmas. Regular community engagement and network meetings were also postponed. The focus of the work shifted to emergency support for vulnerable households, particularly with regards to food provision and digital inclusion.
To help provide support during the crisis, the Community Coordinator supported the set-up of Gorbals Covid Response Group. This brought together local public services and Third Sector organisations to share practice and coordinate the provision of local support available to local people. The group was set up in April 2020 and initially met weekly via Zoom, which shifted to a monthly basis as the pandemic response evolved.
The emergency work in the Gorbals benefitted from the Scottish Government's Supporting Communities Fund and Recovery Fund. As a result, community-based organisations were able to help deliver food programmes, tackle fuel poverty, provide home activities and lunches for young people and provide online activities.
Emergency food programmes in the Gorbals included food parcel delivery, hot meal delivery, breakfast packs, prescription pick-ups, fuel top-ups and welfare calls. The Community Coordinator also help support the establishment of a Community Hub at St Francis Hall to support local community with food pick up and fuel top-ups. This was provided from 22nd July to 30th September. The hub closed due to the rising local cases in Gorbals at the time, however while the hub was open, 183 households accessed the service, with 473 people supported.
Aldi vouchers were also distributed to 150 families at Christmas time, with the Children's Holiday Food Programme providing support during the Easter and Summer Holidays with home activity packs and vouchers for local stores to purchase food, fuel and children activities. Additional funding came from Cash for Kids to support vulnerable families during the pandemic, with 163 young people benefitting from vouchers.
A Digital Inclusion Subgroup for the area was set up to identify local needs and apply for funding to support local people. As a result, 362 devices and connectivity were distributed to those most in need. Set-up support was also provided where possible.
The annual Gorbals Fair was delivered as an online event, with over 600 people taking part. This included a DJ, bookbug sessions, videos of past events in the Gorbals, as well as a socially distanced performance from the St Francis Pipe Band throughout the Gorbals streets.
Participatory Budgeting work in Gorbals area continued during the pandemic and an the Gorbals Idea Fund online voting event took place in November with over 700 votes.
The Gorbals locality plan was updated to include information gathered from the Gorbals Speaks engagement work carried out during 2018/19 and results from the Health and Wellbeing Survey.
Throughout the year local people were kept up to date on development of the locality plan and asked for feedback. Drop-in sessions were held at the Health Centre, Community Breakfast sessions, community events, and connecting sessions were delivered by the Gorbals Ideas Fund. All sessions were promoted through social media and newsletters. Local community groups were also visited to see if there were any gaps in local activities.
Two weekly community breakfasts were run by the Community Coordinator, Michael Fullarton, with support from local organisations and services. Around 90 breakfast rolls were given out per week. The breakfast sessions provided the opportunity not just for a free meal, but also a chance to meet people from the local area and find out about local activities and services.
Over 70 families have been supported through holiday programmes that ran in the February, Easter, summer and October school breaks. The programme provided lunches, snacks, activities and trips.
Throughout the year a number of annual events were held in the Gorbals, attended by over 1,000 people. These included the Gorbals Fun Run, Gorbals Fair, Party in the Piazza, Gorbals Street play, Gorbals Halloween Spooktacular Event and the Christmas Light Switch-on and Fair. All community events in the Gorbals had a focus on food, whether it was packed lunches, soup or barbecues for the whole community.
The Gorbals Daytime Disco was a new monthly event that provided lunch and gave people the opportunity listen to music, meet other people from local communities and find out more about local organisations and services. Around 30 people went to these monthly events, particularly older people and sheltered housing tenants.
Local communities were involved in how services and projects were delivered in the Gorbals during 2019/20. For example, the Gorbals Ideas Fund panel helped local people to award funding to local projects through participatory budgeting. Connect sessions were held with local applicants to get feedback on this process, and unsuccessful applicants were supported to develop their idea in other ways.
The Gorbals Third Sector Forum met every six weeks to bring together local projects, share information and build relationships. The Thriving Breakfast Network also brought together frontline voluntary and public sector staff and met every two months. These were supported by the Community Coordinator.
The work in the Gorbals is overseen by the Gorbals Regeneration Group, which is chaired by a local councillor and is made up of representatives of voluntary and public sector organisations. This group met four times throughout the year.
A lively programme of events and consultations drove forward Locality Planning in the Gorbals throughout 2018/19. Highlights included two weekly community breakfasts, the Gorbals Fun Run, the Gorbals Summer Gathering, the Gorbals Fair and the first Gorbals Christmas Cracker event, which saw all of the local nurseries come together for a festive celebration at the St Francis Centre.
Looking at local provision of adult learning opportunities, partners in the Gorbals supported local ESOL classes and supported the development of the Gorbals Men's Shed initiative. For young people, the Youth Employability Programme with Working Rite continued to be a success.
A key part of the Thriving Places approach is partnership working, and the Gorbals has a number of key structures that continued to generously contribute to Locality Planning in 2018/19. These structures include:
- The Gorbals Regeneration Group - Chaired by a local councillor, this group meet four times per year as the Strategic Group for Gorbals Thriving Place progressing and agreeing key initiatives in Gorbals;
- Gorbals Third Sector Forum - meets every six weeks and brings together voluntary sector projects working in Gorbals to share information/learning and partnership working where possible; and
- Thriving Breakfast Network - The network meet at least five times per year and the main aim is for front line voluntary and public sector staff to build relationships and share information on all things Gorbals.
How You Can Get Involved
If you are looking for information about what you can get involved with in the Gorbals get in touch with your Community Connector Michael Fullerton via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full locality plan for the Gorbals can be found here: Gorbals Locality Plan [1Mb]