Give Tynepark back to our community!
Members of the 'Mental Enablement and Empowerment' group and visitors were at the Tynepark Resource Centre open day last Friday. They hope to buy the centre and turn it into a community hub
FORMER users of a mental health service at Haddington's Tynepark Resource Centre want to buy the property and turn it into a community hub.
The centre closed in April after owner CrossReach lost out to Penumbra as East Lothian Council tendered for a reshaped mental health service for the county.
Since then, the group of former users - calling themselves 'Mental Enablement and Empowerment (MEE)' - have rented the annex part of the building to continue meeting.
However, the main part of the building remains closed.
The Lottery's Awards for All scheme has awarded £10,000 to the group to help with ongoing costs until January.
But they now want the backing of the Haddington community to apply for funding of up to £1 million to fund the purchase of Tynepark, which would then be made available for anyone to use as a meeting place.
CrossReach says the facility will be sold and plans to hold discussions with interested parties in the near future.
An open day was held last Friday in an attempt by MEE to gather support for their bid, but was poorly attended.
However, it has not deterred the group, who are pushing ahead with their plan.
Veronica Forrest, one of MEE's members, told the Courier: "We believe that CrossReach want to sell to [house] builders, but we want them to sell it to us.
"If there were enough people to argue the point for us, then it could be that CrossReach would be forced to sell it to us rather than builders.
"It could become a community hub and all the local groups and everybody that needs a place to go would have this place, so it's for the whole community.
"There's so much scope for so much to be done here, because it's a big premises."
Veronica is also determined to see a mental health service maintained.
She added: "That would be so important to us - even if there were no other groups using it.
"The importance for mental health alone is phenomenal.
"There's been a lot of upset about [Tynepark's service closing] but people are getting a wee bit optimistic that maybe it might not be the end after all.
"The mental health service users that have used it up until now really, really need this place."
CrossReach says that - in accordance with its strategy to achieve long-term sustainability - the building will be sold off, and is awaiting the outcome of a valuation survey before it proceeds further.
A statement from the organisation said: "The finance and resources committee have considered the future of Tynepark Resource Centre and have agreed that it should be sold.
"CrossReach have a number of organisations who have expressed an interest in the possible purchase of the site for initiatives that would benefit the community.
"We are planning to hold talks with each of the interested parties without prejudice at a later date.
"As part of our talks we will also consider any short-term lease arrangements until sale of the building, on the understanding that CrossReach is able to cover all costs."
Jan Wilson, chair of Haddington Community Council, said she would support any bid to keep Tynepark as a community resource.
"It would be great for it to be used and not allowed to go into ruin," she said.
"I'm sure whatever they decide, and if they're successful, it can only be a good asset for Haddington."