Fiona opens day centre lounge
IT WAS a much-anticipated day and when it finally arrived, it certainly lived up to expectations.
For months the management committee of the community and day centres in Langholm had negotiated with Dumfries and Galloway Council and raised funds to bring their vision to fruition.
Last Sunday was the grand opening of the Thomas Hope Lounge, the long-awaited extension to the day centre.
When the council moved the public library to the town hall, the old building, next to the day centre, became surplus to requirements and the management committee took the opportunity to expand its cramped quarters.
Now, members and visitors have a comfortable lounge in which to relax, have a cup of tea and a chat with friends.
Fiona Armstrong, Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries, performed the official opening and she was welcomed by John Hammond, management committee chairman.
She said: "What a glorious day; we could not get a better day or get a better community, too. I go all over Scotland with ITV and there are few places I would rather come to than this one.
"It's a most wonderful place; it's first class. There is such a spirit here and this is reflected in what we have today.
"How many communities could come together and produce something like this. I'm bowled over by it. It's bright, airy and has a happy feel to it. I wish people many happy days here in this centre.
"I'm very honoured to be asked to come to the Muckle Toon. I lived for many years in Canonbie and now live near Boreland and I have a great affinity with this place. When I come here, my heart lifts. It's a very special place.
"Congratulations to everyone who has made this possible; everyone who has raised money and given money. May it be a place of joy and comradeship where people can meet friends, eat, relax and be inspired."
Mr Hammond said: "I'm very pleased it has come together. There's been a lot of hard work and support from local folk to raise the money for the refurbishment of the whole building.
"The community raised £30,000 to do the interior of both rooms but particularly to turn the old library into the lounge which is a nice comfortable place to sit and relax.
"It can also be used for activities like the Pilates class and there is a partition to divide the two rooms so they can be used by groups for meetings and functions.
"By having this enhanced room, we hope the membership, which currently stands at 135, will go up. We also hope people will want to come and use it during the day."
The former day centre entrance is now closed and people are asked to use the former library front door.
Mr Hammond believes people will feel more comfortable coming into the lounge rather than straight into the dining room and he hopes this will encourage more members to join.
The centre's next project is to raise money to buy a new kitchen so they can cater for more people.