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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2007, 23:41 GMT 00:41 UK
2014 east end regeneration game
Glasgow 2014 aims to bring economic and social benefits to the city, in particular the deprived east end, which will host new venues and the Athlete's Village.

Here, in the second of three features on Glasgow's bid, BBC Scotland news website reporter Alex Robertson visits the communities which could benefit.

The land is scarred and urban decay hangs in the air.

"One of our greatest communities," is how Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell sees it.

Sandra's Dairy

First Minister Jack McConnell described it as an area that had lived through "many challenges".

This is Dalmarnock and Parkhead, the inner city of the east end.

And this will be the site of the National Indoor Sports Arena (NISA), a new home for SportScotland, and if Glasgow succeeds in its bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, a velodrome and athlete's village.

Only large advertising hoardings on desolate land indicate what seems like an impossible dream.

On a bright spring morning, the site is bordered to the north by the empty stands of Celtic Park.

To the west stand industrial units and Bridgeton, and to the south Dalmarnock, a small village of cottage flats, tenement flats, in parts run down, and some new homes.

The area is surrounded by tower blocks, some derelict and others under renovation.

And on London Road, in a row of empty stores, sits Sandra's Dairy.

Poverty and prosperity

The delicatessen has occupied that spot for quarter of a century and may have to make way for the athlete's village.

"I don't think I'm going to be here, the area will be regenerated and old shops like these will have to come down," said owner Sandra Findlay, 57.

Sandra, who is close to retirement, said the Games have community support.

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She said: "They say the area will be regenerated, there will be lots of new facilities and obviously it will bring a lot of prosperity to the area, so everybody seems quite keen.

"I think it is a good thing for the area, it has long been run down and neglected. If anything regenerates it, that's marvellous."

Outside the dairy, 40-year-old Derek Golding cycles across the spare ground earmarked for a velodrome.

"Obviously the plan is it should benefit the area but that depends on the eventual cost the operation will have," he said.

"The local councillor said everything has been costed and won't rise, but they said that about the London Olympics and look what happened to that."

About a mile away, mothers and their children visit a local play park while school children queue in pairs for their swimming lessons at Tollcross Leisure Centre.

The centre will be extended and is one of the proposed host venues for the Games.

Mother-of-two Lee-Anne Wilson, 27, from Shettleston, said: "I think bidding for the Commonwealth Games is a fabulous idea, especially bringing it to the local community.

"Children need to get off their backsides, get into sport, get away from the TV, get away from computers.

"Hopefully it will regenerate the east end for my children, I want to stay in the east end for my children, if there weren't facilities I would look elsewhere to live."

'Fantastic opportunity'

About half a mile away, sit the offices of the Glasgow East Regeneration Agency.

The agency will be tasked with ensuring the community are involved in the Games and benefit from any job opportunities which arise.

It is estimated the Games will bring 1,000 new jobs.

Regeneration is a broader process than having an infrastructure for a Commonwealth Games in place
Professor Ivan Turok

University of Glasgow

Chief executive Ronnie Saez is steeped in the east end, he was born and raised here.

"We suffer from a poor skills base in the east end," he said.

"The area of the Commonwealth Games is in the heart of the inner east end, it is an area of blight.

"To have this area transformed would be fantastic, it would bring new visitors, job opportunities, a focus and a profile.

"It is paramount we secure the Games."

Parts of the east end are blighted by poverty.

John Dickie of the Child Poverty Action Group believes the jobs on offer should go to local people.

He said: "Any investment in regeneration and creating new jobs needs to ensure opportunities are accessible to those families who are facing greatest poverty and are at risk from poverty. That is essential."

Community involvement

Professor Ivan Turok, of the University of Glasgow's department of Urban Economic Development, warned the Games alone could not regenerate the east end.

"Regeneration is a broader process than having an infrastructure for a Commonwealth Games in place," he said.

"Regeneration requires people to have the skills to compete for employment.

"Regeneration requires a wider range of facilities than just sports centres."

Glasgow could learn from the experience of east Manchester, an area regenerated after the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Sean McGonigle, of the New East Manchester regeneration company, said the Games kick-started regeneration and acted as a catalyst in an area of extreme dereliction.

Crucially, he said local people must be involved from the outset.

He said: "The Games were their Games and we had to make sure they were fully involved and had access to the Games. I think that made a huge difference."

Ronnie Saez said all is not lost if Glasgow loses the Games to Nigeria.

The NISA will be built and work is under way elsewhere to turn around the east end's fortunes.

But he warned it would be a missed opportunity and a tremendous tragedy for the east end if Nigeria won.

A decision will be made by the Commonwealth Games Federation in November.

On Friday, BBC Scotland news website looks at the competition Glasgow faces from Abuja in Nigeria.

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