Kinning Park Complex
Kinning Park Complex (KPC) is an independent organisation which runs a multi-use building on the south side of Glasgow.
The complex is housed in an old red sandstone building, built around 1910 as the science block of Lambhill Street Secondary School. When it closed as a school, it became a council-run community centre between 1979 and 1996. However, it fell into disrepair and the local authority decided to close it. Local residents who used the centre occupied the building for 55 days and nights and pressed their case for the centre to be kept open. After a lengthy standoff, a peppercorn rent was agreed, and a local community group took over the running of the building, renting out space to other users. Projects and activities were then provided in response to community need, and have included childcare, arts studios, and event space for community celebrations.
In 2019 KPC took over the running of the building, renting out space to other users. At this point the building was in a poor state, with an extremely leaking roof, faulty electrics and a broken heating system.
KPC reviewed their governance, and (responding to the introduction of Community Land Rights and supports in urban Scotland in 2016) decided to set up as a Community Body compliant with the requirements of the Scottish Land Fund. This allowed KPC to buy the building and the adjacent nursery building from an arm’s length external organisation to the city council, using money from the Scottish Land Fund and enabled by the 2015 Community Empowerment Act.
A grant of £1 million from the National Lottery Community Fund, £1.2 million from Scottish Government and additional support from a number of funders allowed KPC to get started on renovations of the main building in August 2020. A warmer, brighter, bigger and more accessible space was opened in April of 2022.
KPC continued to operate outside of the building during renovation and Covid-19 lockdowns. In response to the Covid pandemic, KPC looked for ways to support the community, setting up the KPC A O.K (Acts of Organised Kindness) project in April 2020.
“During March it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic was going to fundamentally affect the way that we lived our lives. Kinning Park Complex was no different, and as a result we quickly pivoted our services to mean that the wellbeing and social inclusion support that we usually provided through our café would need to be provided from a distance.”Martin Avila, Director
KPC also conducted one of the first Local Place Plans in Glasgow under the 2019 Planning Act, called “Because We Say So!” and based on community development principles. Recent projects have included community gardening, community meals, digital inclusion, and a repair café. The renovated building now hosts co-working spaces, offices, event space, and tool library pick-up.
The vision for Kinning Park Complex continues to be ‘a welcoming space that is a platform for all kinds of great activity, a place that brings people together, encourages the development of new ideas and projects, provides for the most vulnerable and supports those who want to make our neighbourhood and our world a better place to be.’
With its core values of participation, partnership, solidarity, responsibility, understanding and inclusivity and a focus on wellbeing, creativity, sustainability and citizenship, KPC’s mission is to provide a range of well-run assets, services and activities that are community owned and led.
Kinnning Park Complex featured on the Glasgow City Heritage Trust podcast, “If Glasgow’s Walls Could Talk”, a series about the relationships, stories and shared memories that exist between Glasgow historic buildings and peoples. This episode gives great insight into historic buildings and the work at Kinning Park Complex– you can listen or read the transcript here.