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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 June, 2003, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Fair wind for Castlemilk
By Mike Lloyd
For BBC News Online Scotland

Castlemilk Fair clowns
The fair week got under way on Saturday
Castlemilk used to be bottom of the league, a deprived community abandoned on Glasgow's southern rim with little going for it.

But the area now celebrating success, with its fair week of festivities, could scarcely be more different.

The money poured in during 15 years of regeneration has altered Castlemilk almost beyond recognition.

"It's a vast change," according to Matthew Finkle, project officer with the Castlemilk Environment Trust.

"If you had told people 15 years ago that house prices here would top 150,000, they would have laughed at you."

Upmarket houses are only a small part of the success story, but an indication that this is now a community where people want to live.

The fear is we've moved so far ahead of other areas we might no longer be seen as a priority
Matthew Finkle
Castlemilk Environment Trust

"People are coming back," said David Coyne, chief executive of the Castlemilk Economic Development Agency.

"There are folk who moved away from the area because they had to; now they can buy a home here and return to be close their roots and their families."

Events like the Castlemilk Fair are helping to bind the community and make it - in the modern buzzword -"sustainable".

"It allows people to feel that they are part of something, to feel positive about the place they live in, and that's why we are supporting it," said Mr Coyne.

Communities Scotland, the national housing agency, also contributed 1,200 to the fair.

Community work

That may seem a drop in the ocean compared to the millions spent on Castlemilk's houses, but "partnership working in this way is important in our regeneration role," according to the organisation's Mary McLean.

"The emphasis has changed from physical redevelopment," says Mr Finkle.

"Now we concentrate far more on community work, building the capacity of the community to run itself."

Castlemilk Fair is not so much a new event as a reinvention, according to Duncan Wilson, a development worker for the Castlemilk Community Forum.

A range of outdoor events are planned

"There was a folk festival which folded a few years ago... and the forum decided to re-establish the kind of festival in Castlemilk which goes right back to the days of the old Castlemilk Fair."

The fair week will feature outdoor events along with story telling, cookery and sports.

The event culminates in a concert party at which Geordie rockers Lindisfarne are the headline act.

"I think the fair has to grab people and get them to the events," said Mr Finkle.

"We've got to get them doing things within the community or we'll just become another commuter area."

He also voiced concern that Castlemilk could become a victim of its own success.

"We're 70% through the physical redevelopment; the fear is we've moved so far ahead of other areas we might no longer be seen as a priority," he added.

Glasgow tops 'most deprived' list
27 Feb 03  |  Scotland
Regeneration body comes under fire
29 Jan 03  |  Scotland
Cities share 110m investment
09 Jan 03  |  Scotland

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