HARLAWHILL Day Centre in Prestonpans has reopened its doors for the first time in over a year, after a local charity stepped in to replace its windows.

The centre first closed on March 20 last year, three days before the first coronavirus lockdown.

But now, and for the first time this year, the centre was able to reopen its doors to its members and users on Monday, May 3.

Last August, preparations started to reopen the centre building, including installing sanitising stations, purchasing a fogging machine and laying out furniture for social distancing, while National Lottery funding was granted to fit an electronic door with a video entry system.

Despite this, the building was not allowed to open as it did not meet the new ventilation guidance due to only having fixed pane windows installed.

The only option was to replace all of the windows and the door.

Due to the estimated cost involved, the building’s landlord was not able to assist so the centre sought out quotes to complete the work itself, but the £10,000 cost could not be met through the centre’s own funds.

Fiona Mitchell, centre manager, spoke to local ward councillors, with Councillor Fiona O’Donnell stepping in and arranging for two windows in the lounge to be replaced.

The centre manager then spoke to her friend Tam Jardine, who is a great supporter of the centre and a friend of its late chair Jean Thomson.

When made aware of the situation, Tam discussed it with his son Brian, president elect of Musselburgh Rugby Club, who in turn discussed it with Blair Stewart, a Walk With Scott Foundation trustee and former Musselburgh player.

Blair and the charity’s other trustees decided to fund the cost of the remaining windows, with Tam also making a donation.

Walk With Scott Foundation founder the late Scott Glynn was a great supporter of the centre, with staff “honoured that he will forever be a part of Harlawhill thanks to his amazing legacy and the work of his foundation”.

Karen Kidd, Walk with Scott Foundation secretary, said: “Walk with Scott Foundation are delighted to be able to help our friends at Harlawhill by donating towards their new windows, which is allowing them to reopen and to welcome their members back to the place they love and enjoy.”

The windows were fitted on April 29, with the centre open four days later, for the first time in 14 months, in a day filled with joy as well as sadness following Jean’s death in March.

Due to restrictions, a maximum of six people are allowed in the centre per day.

During lockdown, telephone buddies, weekly treats, entertainment on special days and afternoon tea from local businesses helped keep members entertained.