Duncan Place is a three storey, seventeen room former community centre situated close to the beautiful Leith Links park in Edinburgh. When the building re-opens in late 2019/ early 2020 Duncan Place will be a fully accessible hub with many groups and classes learning and sharing skills and socialising together. The building will also provide office and studio space for the third sector, local entrepreneurs and artist makers.
Prior to closure over 500 people per week attended groups and classes in arts, crafts and well-being. Leith is the most densely populated neighbourhood in Edinburgh and, with many large scale housing developments underway, the pressure on public space is immense. All local centres have waiting lists. Re-opening Duncan Place for the community will go some way to relieve this pressure and allow the community to work together on the issues affecting it most.
Following decades of under investment in Duncan Place The City of Edinburgh Council closed the centre in late 2014 to allow investigations into the fabric of the building to take place. They soon realised they did not have the budget to carry out the necessary work and announced the centre would not reopen.
The classes and groups housed there had been re-homed in other parts of the city (no space was available in Leith!) and this led to 50% of people not being able to take part anymore.
The community rallied to the call and saved the building from demolition by petitioning against it and by developing an alternative proposal. This has led to a SCIO being formed, a Community Asset Transfer getting underway and to the trustees raising the funds required to refurbish the building: around £2m in funds and ‘work in kind.’
The ownership of the Duncan Place building will be transferred to the Duncan Place charity SCIO. It will be community owned and managed with profits being reinvested in the building and in community activities. Social impact and sustainability will be achieved by generating income from the affordable, flexible rental space while maintaining space for community purposes. Please visit duncanplace.org to keep up to date!