Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Last week, as a direct result of the interest generated by the campaign and all your support, we got the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with a our two local MSPs and senior staff at Riverside Inverclyde...though, not all at the same time. Those conversations were very positive for initial discussions, and really signal where we need to be going next...
First up, we met with George Hunter, Operations Manager from Riverside Inverclyde. George is also on the board of the James Watt Dock LLP, he has been following the Sheds facebook page and blog. In principle, he was very clear that he sees no issue with the aims and objectives which we have laid out. He was keen that there be community activity and varied events at the sheds, and would most certainly consider temporary lets of some of the space to allow that to happen. Clearly though, the public liability / health and safety responsibilities for the use of the space would transfer to the leaseholder. Hmm. Tricky. Also, Shed B, (which is the one where all the gigs happened) still has issues with water ingress. The suggestion was initially that we look at Shed A for some events (this was the bar). We're going down there to have a look round shortly.
So...okay..RI happy for us to come back to them. What we're thinking is an 18 month programme of activities and events, specifically based around the ideas and suggestions put up on the page.
What about our local politicians? Well, so far we have met with Stuart McMillan MSP and Duncan McNeill MSP, both of whom expressed a broad support for positive use of the sheds, provided there was some notion of sustainability. Stuart McMillan was interested to see that any activity down there, from refurbishment work to events directly created local jobs. Both will continue to discuss the situation with Riverside Inverclyde.
So, we're pushing at an open door, which is a good thing, but we don't just want to tumble through that door and land flat on our faces. I may have over-extended that metaphor there. You get the idea.
Anything that we want to put in the sheds needs to be well organised and varied to appeal to Inverclyders and other audiences, that's what will prove the case. In order to do that effectively, we'll need a more formal structure for the group, to fundraise both through grant opportunities, crowdsourcing and more traditional methods, and we'll also need to get all of you who have kindly offered to help, from promoters and community groups through to artists and stage crew to pitch in pulling this together. Having looked at some of the health and safety implications etc and with summer almost gone...we're now thinking events for next year are more likely.
While we're planning all that, we'll still be looking more formally at an alternative business plan for the building. More on that to follow.
So...victory! Sort of. Maybe. Thank you all for helping get us to this point. Now's when the hard work starts if we are serious about using the sheds as a community space in the future. If you haven't already offered your skills and support to us, and think you can help, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Likewise, keep signing and sharing (and if you still want to be part of our Celebration Ode collection, singing)
We're intending to have a stall at one of the Cathcart Square events over the next few weekends, if you see us, come say hello and help support another local event attempting to use a historical space creatively.