Merkinch Community Hub and Family Centre
The Highland Council and High Life Highland are working to improve community facilities available to people living in the Merkinch area of Inverness.
Local opinion will be sought on a £2million application to the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Fund towards creating a £10million multi-purpose community hub on the site of the current Family Centre and Community centre.
Council staff met with community council representatives last night in Merkinch to outline the proposals and discuss plans for a community survey which is due to be published soon. Community Centre users will also be consulted on the draft survey, following which a final version will be distributed among the community for their feedback.
New facilities at the proposed hub development would include a café, which has been identified as a need, through consultation with local people, but would also include youth provision and would allow services for children and families to be more accessible by being brought together on one site. The need for a games hall, library, dance/exercise room, changing facilities and exercise suite are also included in proposals.
The project will involve the replacement of the existing Merkinch Community Centre and Merkinch Family Centre buildings with a new combined building capable of for example:
- Providing modern facilities that would be more attractive to users and provide a community ‘Hub’ that meets the needs of the Merkinch community.
- Providing enhanced facilities and a wide range of family support services for the Merkinch community.
- Meeting the growing demand for childcare.
- Developing health and welfare improvements by providing rooms that could be used by Health Visitors and other health staff, to support contact for parents with children, and as a venue for parenting programmes.
- Co-locating of Family Team members (Health Visitors, Early Year Practitioners, Social Workers and Children’s Support Workers) that are currently dispersed across Inverness.
- Developing closer links between the Primary School, Nursery and the Family Team / Family Centre.
The intention is to extend facilities to meet the needs and interests of varying groups in the community, and there will be further consultation in the run-up to the Government’s decision on the application, which is expected in early February 2016.
Further information on the survey will available in due course and will be promoted by the Council.