So how did we get from this –
And still consider what we’ve been doing a success? Well it’s been a success in bringing the people of Cumbernauld together for a common cause. Yes the house has been shut off and has been bought to be transformed into flats but it’s also become a symbol of the pride people still have in this town. We’re much maligned as a place but we’ve shown people that the town has much more history than that which started in the mid 1950’s.
We started in February 2010 with a walk around the house (something not allowed just now) which led me to think that perhaps I could help whoever was working on the house – I mean surely someone was. We found some small groups trying very hard to work out what to do and we tried to help but got nowhere so I reached out to some people online who had also been involved with the house at times and the group started from there.
Our original goal was to get the Council or Scottish Government to do something about the house but what we found was that this was precisely what other groups had tried in the past and the Council and Government were not interested or able to help. So we could have given up at that point but looking for alternatives we decided that perhaps we could do something?
Don’t want to get all ‘Big Society’ about this but we decided the community felt strongly enough about this building to start a fully fledged charity around it – which we duly did. It isn’t the easiest thing in the world to start a charity and you need to jump through all sorts of hoops (and rightly so) but we got there and 4 days after we got news our charity status was granted, and we thought we’d made some proper progress, the house was sold to a developer.
A lot of groups that had been involved with the house in the past had at this point in proceeding (remember this isn’t the first time this has happened and it’s never worked out) gone quitely away feeling the house was saved. We didn’t. We wanted to make sure that the developer was legitimate and had the best interests of the house in mind.
We did meet with the developer (CHB) briefly after they bought the house but we’ve struggled to get past their solicitor since then. Having studied the plans for the house we’ve come to realise that these are not the best way forward for the house. We have looked into a lot of areas such as opening the house to local charities, a cafe, museum, registry office, weddings, education centre etc and all are stronger (packaged properly) than what we are facing.
This is why we’ve moved from being a community fundraising charity to a campaiging group. We truely hope we can revert back to the original model soon and get this issue resolved. In the meantime though we need the public to back us more than ever. We’d love to hit the 3000 members mark soon! What we need now is a big push from our supporters to get us moving in the right direction after the developer involvement. What we’d like everyone to do is recommend our page, sign our petition, object to the planning permission but most of all we’d like people to help promote us. Ask your friends on Facebook and Twitter to like us and follow us – let’s make a big push for the house and for the community and try to get it back in the publics hands and being used to further the GOOD name of the town. Remember this is a house steeped in history and we can’t forget that when people come in with money and try to take it away.
Finally, we have hinted at this in the past, we do have some proper people behind this group – Professional fundraisers, architects, accountants and lawyers who are all helping with the admin work, Free of Charge, but we are now also in a position where we have financial backing also for the house – whilst that is as much as we can share right now this is a significant and massive step in the right direction and hopefully will put paid to the naysayers who have been coming onto the page saying we couldn’t do it. We’ve taken the group worldwide in the last year and have gained all sorts of support from Bill Wyman and our own Lynn Ferguson through to people like Jason Connery and recent recruits Colin and Justin but the main thing for us is that we are as strong as we ever have been and we’re in an excellent position to make a move forward if we can get the planning hurdle over with. So please go out and recruit the help we need!