A success for the community

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THINGS are moving fast down at Govanhill now that the Baths has been reopened.

The official opening was back at the beginning of February when actor and director Petter Mullan did the honours along with deputy first minister and southside MSP Nicola Sturgeon.

Govanhill Baths was closed back in 2001 with Glasgow city council saying it was not needed due to there being other pools nearby.

However, the decision caused a wave of protest with large demonstrations bringing people from across the city to defend the facility.

An occupation of the building took place with activists determined to keep the pool open.

Early in August of that year, violence broke out at one of the protests when police decided to end the occupation after five months.

Five police officers were injured — with one policewoman taken to hospital with broken ribs.

Police at the time were quick to point out, though, that this had been caused by “a fringe element wholly intent on violence towards the police”.

Over the years the will and determination never waned and community activists were rewarded for their efforts earlier this year when the official opening took place.

Govanhill Baths Community Trust administrator Jim Monaghan told The Extra: “We have been moving quickly since we moved into the building in February this year.

“The first of the three pools (the teaching pool) will be open next month.

“We have already refurbished the foyer for reception and art exhibition space and the kitchen in the former fitness suite, which doubles as a meeting room.

“We are also about to open up the offices at the front of the building and that will create further meeting rooms for community groups”.

Jim said that there is still much to do and the community’s plans for the facility are getting adventurous.

He continued: “The overall plans to open all three pools, re-open the sauna/Turkish etc, and convert the former steamie into a community theatre/cinema is about two to three years away as yet.

“We have quite a bit of work to do on the fabric of the building.

“The support from the community has been invaluable over the last eleven years and is still very strong, even more so now that the building is in use”.

Later this month the Community Trust is staging a play, Lifeguard, by the National Theatre Scotland in what is a most definite departure from the Baths as somewhere to go just for a swim.