Local citizens and visitors to Cumbernauld are benefiting from an innovative and health-focussed new free Community Space recently opened in Antonine Shopping Centre.
The Community Space, which is located at Unit 14 of the Shopping Centre in close proximity to several reputable retailers and service providers, was officially launched on Thursday 1 August 2019. It aims to provide a range of free, fun and interactive activities and opportunities for families, shoppers and passers-by of the Shopping Centre.
The initiative has been developed as a partnership between established social enterprise charity Cornerstone House Centre and Antonine Shopping Centre with a view to improving health and wellbeing in the Cumbernauld area. It forms part of a wider Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub which was launched by Cornerstone House Centre on behalf of Health and Social Care North Lanarkshire in February 2019.
A central feature of The Community Space is a dedicated ‘Ping Pong Parlour’, an innovation providing four table tennis tables and relevant equipment, enabling anyone to drop in and play table tennis for free. A range of other table-top games will also be provided, aligning with Cornerstone House Centre and Antonine Shopping Centre’s ambition to inspire the people of Cumbernauld to get active and lead healthy lifestyles.
The Space also incorporates a ‘Light Bites Station’ where visitors can have a seat and buy tea, coffee, refreshments and snacks at affordable prices, and a Community Information Point, where local organisations and not-for-profit service providers can host market-place stalls and facilitate citizen and community engagement.
It is recognised that the potential to develop and introduce several other provisions within The Community Space is tremendous. Proposals currently being worked on include a Reading Space, Shopmobility Zone and Tablet and Internet Usage. The Space will also provide an ideal location for sample and ad-hoc future community activities being planned within Antonine Shopping Centre. Mary McNeil, Development Manager at Cornerstone House Centre, commented:
“Recent research undertaken through Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub has indicated that the people of Cumbernauld would benefit significantly from the establishment of a new Town Centre Community Space.
“Hence, Cornerstone House Centre is delighted and excited to announce the launch of the new Community Space, and believes that this can play an important role in positively affecting the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the people of Cumbernauld.
“The potential impact of The Community Space in helping to reduce inequalities, build resilient communities and improve health is vast and wide-reaching. This is even more so given that Cornerstone House Centre, as a recognised, trusted and independent community anchor organisation, is highly experienced in delivering successful, high profile, outcome-focussed and people-centred services, projects and activities.
“We are extremely grateful that Antonine Shopping Centre shares our vision of flourishing communities, quality services and facilities, healthier and happier people and a thriving Cumbernauld, and have endeavoured to provide a valuable Town Centre Unit in a central and prime location rent-free for this tangible community purpose.
“An open invitation is extended for all to visit and maximise usage of The Community Space on a regular basis. Indeed, we have identified particular opportunities to involve and benefit older people, carers, parents and guardians, people with disabilities and long term conditions, people facing mental health challenges and people on lower incomes.
“We are also eager for agencies providing vital services for people living in Cumbernauld, notably Community Planning Partners, voluntary sector organisations, social enterprises and community interest companies, to utilise The Community Space for awareness raising and information sharing purposes over the coming period.”
“Facilitation of The Community Space is supported by a team of trained and skilled volunteers, with another positive aspect of the venture being that some excellent new and development volunteering opportunities are being created.”
Martin Botha, Antonine Shopping Centre Manager, added: “It gives us great pleasure to help facilitate what can be described as a fantastic place shaping initiative, and will be managed by an organisation and its experienced volunteers who are extremely well respected within Cumbernauld community.”
“The Community Space provides a great opportunity to bring the people of Cumbernauld together where they can enjoy free table tennis and a range of other fun and interactive activities with a key focus on staying healthy.”
The facility is currently opened every Monday, Thursday and Friday from 12noon to 3.00pm, with further opening hours planned to be introduced on a phased basis over the coming months. Operational hours are flexible and designed to meet the needs of service-using individuals and groups.
Individuals, organisations and prospective volunteers can obtain further information about accessing or supporting The Community Space by contacting Cornerstone House Centre on 01236 739220 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, more details can be acquired by visiting The Community Space direct or Cornerstone House Centre’s main base at 1 Esk Walk, Town Centre, Cumbernauld, G67 1GZ.