The site may be shiny and new but the journey to this point has been long, and at times rather tortuous. For those of you that have only recently discovered the Heroes Centre or Helensburgh Heroes we thought you might appreciate a little background.
Back in 2008 a group of like minded individuals came together to discuss some of the issues facing the Helensburgh community, issues that are probably common across many towns and villages throughout Scotland and beyond.
Admittedly it was hardly a meeting akin to the Fellowship but it did include a chap sporting a beard that Gandalf would have been proud of.
Questions that we raised at the time included: How can we provide new leisure and educational facilities given the economic conditions? How can we provide facilities that will encourage the areas younger members to feel included with the overall community? How can we provide facilities that will positively boost the local economy in a tangible and measurable way? How can we achieve this working as a voluntary team with work and family commitments? And last but certainly not least, how can we gain public recognition for the achievements of so many talented and inspirational men and women with associations to the area who have made a significant impact to society?
We came up with Helensburgh Heroes.
The whole concept behind Helensburgh Heroes is to provide a vehicle that can be run and managed by people with an interest in Scotland’s West Coast for the benefit of the wider community.
Helensburgh Heroes, is totally inclusive, is independent of the public sector and political parties, and has no self serving interests and aims to tackle economic, social and environmental issues, in an integrated and sustainable way. At the end of 2008, Helensburgh Heroes was granted charitable status.
After an immediate attempt to procure a former Victorian School from the local authority failed, the Heroes team settled back, biding its time and waiting for another opportunity to arise. Some two years later, at the end of 2010, the team were alerted to the possibility of a former Victorian Railway warehouse (the area is not short of former Victorian XXXs). It proved to be perfect.
Our Architect stated at the time: ˜As soon as the team went inside the building we knew that it could house both a range of first class entertainment and community facilities whilst also providing an inspirational space for the Heroes exhibition. Few people would imagine that there is a building with such a volume in Helensburgh.”
We invited the local community in to view the building, gauge the reaction and elicit their views and needs. Over 360 people attended and provided us with valuable feedback – the most common being “Don’t Give Up. Make it happen!!
Fast forward 6 months and the team applied for change of use planning permission to convert the building from warehouse into digital entertainment complex. With permission granted, the team set about developing a set of detailed plans for the facility.
Many miles were travelled, many meetings attended and many views gained, all of which has led us to the Heroes Centre and the vision we have laid out before you.
It’s an important and highly ambitious venture – not only for the local community but for Scotland plc.
We need a skilled digital work force, we need to be creative and innovative, we need role models, we need to inspire our next generation and we need to feel proud of both our identity and people.