Staff at a Glasgow charity are “gutted” as they face closure after being turned down for council funding – while the future of a vital pharmacy is uncertain.
Kids and Adults Together in Sighthill (KATS) has been based in Sighthill Community Centre since 2008 and offers nursery and after-school care as well as community facilities for residents.
It asked the council, which had previously provided funding, for just over £480,000 for the next three years, but was knocked back as the “heavily oversubscribed” £50m fund received 436 bids, requesting £136.5m.
Tina Suffredini, a trustee of the charity and the centre manager, said that decision means the venue, used for classes, functions, parties and to host charities and church groups, could shut.
The charity can currently only survive until April, Ms Suffredini said, when eight jobs would be lost. She added the closure of the centre could mean the only pharmacy in the area is “put out of business as well”.
“We’re in Sighthill, going through major regeneration at the moment, so we’ve been having a real tough time over the past few years,” the centre manager said. “It ruptured our whole business, we were well on the way to self-financing.
“Everybody is gutted, everybody is down. It’s people’s jobs and people’s livelihoods. It’s also a community, we do our best, we’ve been struggling for years, hoping and praying for this regeneration.
“We know when all the houses go back up they are going to need facilities.”
Council staff approached the centre over housing a pharmacy when buildings in Sighthill were pulled down ahead of the regeneration project, Ms Suffredini said.
“It’s the only facility that they have in Sighthill,” she said. “He’s a prescribing pharmacy.
“The community has got absolutely nothing, no shops, no bus route, nothing. They will have nowhere to continue these things that they are doing and obviously the chemist is a major, major loss to the community.”
At a north east sector partnership meeting on Thursday, councillor Ann Jenkins quizzed officials over the lack of funding for KATS. She said she had a concern “particularly because they have a pharmacy within that building”.
She said the pharmacy does “methadone, it does prescriptions, it’s got eight staff and a full-time delivery driver”, adding citizens are being told to visit pharmacies at the moment due to the pressure on GPs.
A council spokeswoman said officials would “discuss and support any changes to the pharmacy as and when they are needed to”.
In total, 235 projects will be funded by the scheme and, after successful applicants were revealed last week, councillor Christina Cannon, city convener for education, communities and equalities, said there had been a “comprehensive, robust, open and transparent process”.
She added the fund would help “our citizens and communities most in need”. “We know that organisations who have not been recommended for grant funding will be disappointed and officers will be offering feedback and meaningful support around capacity building and financial advice on other sources of funding.
“As with all new grant funding, there are never any guarantees that organisations which had previously received funding will automatically have that funding renewed and groups should factor this into business models.
“Unfortunately, we have a limited pot of money and we need to use the resources of the council — especially during these challenging, financial times — in the most supportive and effective way to meet the needs of Glaswegians and our communities.”