First Scottish Futures Trust hub project opens to public

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By a Newsnet reporter

The £5.7 million Drumbrae Library hub in Edinburgh – the first project to be delivered by the Scottish Futures Trust Hub Scheme – has opened to the public.

By a Newsnet reporter

The £5.7 million Drumbrae Library hub in Edinburgh – the first project to be delivered by the Scottish Futures Trust Hub Scheme – has opened to the public.

The Library – which includes a day care centre for the elderly, computer suites and meeting rooms – was funded through the hub initiative, which brings together local public organisations with private sector partners to deliver the best possible value for public money in the construction of community infrastructure projects. The Drumbrae project was designed with the assistance of over 700 local residents.

The development includes offices for local police officers, housing advisors and environmental services, along with a day-care centre for the elderly.  Staff from other council departments will work at the front desk in the new centre, allowing local residents to pay rent or report antisocial behaviour.

The Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) is an independent company, established by the SNP Government in 2008, with a responsibility to deliver value for money across all public infrastructure investment.  The SFT was set up by the SNP government to replace Labour’s Private Finance Initiative projects, which had come under severe criticism for hidden costs and allowing private companies to cream off a profit from the public sector.

In 2009-10, the Scottish Future Trust saved the Scottish taxpayer £111 Million, which increased to savings of £129 Million in 2010–11.

The new hub has received an enthusiastic welcome from local residents, who have campaigned for 40 years to have a library built locally.  The community was one of the few districts in the capital not to have a library within walking distance.

Speaking to the Scotsman newspaper, library team leader Nicola Tonner said:

“It’s a one-stop shop for the local community – we’re joining up library services with other council services, so people can drop in for housing advice, we’ve got a community safety team and local police officers, so if they’ve got any concerns they can come in and chat them through.

“We’ve got a lot of computer access for people on a bigger scale then most libraries and a big learning suite for people to run computer classes, and free wifi access is on the way.

Ms Tonner added:  “I think sharing a space with other services will open up public services to more customers who might not have thought of libraries before.”

Colin Keir, SNP MSP for Edinburgh West, attended the public opening of the new Drumbrae Library Hub and will lead a Members Debate on the project in the Scottish Parliament today.

Mr Weir said:

“This is the first Hub project to be financed by the Scottish Futures Trust established by the SNP government – built on time and on budget.

“It’s great to see a project model based on partnership between private and public sectors. It shows what can be achieved when different organisations work together with the common goal of improving public services in a way that delivers real value for the public purse.

“This fantastic Library hub shows that there are far better ways to build new infrastructure for our communities than the costly PFI schemes that the SNP’s opponents would have you believe are the only game in town.

“I believe the hub’s ‘one-stop-shop’ approach will also encourage more community based activity and involvement.

“The communities of Drumbrae and Clermiston have been campaigning for a library in the area for as long as I can remember.  I grew up in Drumbrae Terrace and I remember this project being talked about for years but it never materialised until now.  I’m proud to have been part of the administration that delivered it.

“The hub was very much alive and kicking today – you could feel a real community vibe and a sense of accomplishment.  It was great to be part of it.”