There has been a constant plea from community groups all over the city during the last year demanding that the council reopens community centres.

The fact that these were closed has thrown uo all sorts of logistical challenges to the groups working with the most vulnerable in Edinburgh.

We met a group at Magdalene last summer who were having to pack food parcels in the open air – right outside the community centre which was closed. They also had gazebos for their volunteers to work from, but nonetheless had no access to running water.

Rab Hogg at the Magdalene Community Centre. Photo: Martin P. McAdam

Since last year some groups were then able to access community centres for certain purposes including food poverty programmes, regulated childcare and some vulnerable groups.

The council will begin to open up a number of their community centres from next week in a phased approach. This will include access for youth groups and other child and adult activities such as the Get into Summer programme which the council will run during the holidays.

The centres at Jack Kane, South Bridge, Royston Wardieburn, Ratho, Clovenstone, Pentland and Goodtrees will be open in a limited manner from Monday 12 July. More will reopen in the coming weeks as the management committees and the council assess current public health advice.

Cllr Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “It’s absolutely vital for our citizens that our community centres are able to welcome them back as soon as possible so it’s welcome that we’ve been able to accelerate their opening. They’re a focal hub for our communities and you can’t underestimate the positive effect they have on people of all ages who benefit enormously from using them.”

Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan, Culture and Communities Vice Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “I’m sure people will be pleased to hear that essential services such as youth work along with other activities will soon be resuming in our community centres. These buildings are much-loved local spaces, like our libraries and sports venues, and the important role they will play in the city’s recovery from the pandemic is immeasurable.”

Pentland Community Centre