Glasgow council makes controversial appointment for LGBT centre

Adam Lake October 30, 2009
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Gay rights groups in Glasgow have spoken out against the controversial decision to hand over the running of the Glasgow LGBT centre to one of its senior councillors.

Councillor Ruth Black who heads up ‘Castro’, will be responsible for running the recently bankrupt Glasgow LGBT Centre, a one-stop shop for the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Ms Black was previously manager of the LGBT Centre, although left before it closed earlier this year with debts of more than £300,000.

Glasgay claims it has been successful for almost 20 years yet the council wants to give the running of the LGBT centre to an organisation not yet established and with no management, governance or staff arrangements, as well as a direct connection with the previous regime.

Pride Director Ross Stevenson told

“The Glasgay bid offered a lot more then the Castro bid, they would have made it a much more vibrant place.

“I am against Ruth Black running the centre as I feel that she did have a role to play in the downfall of the centre.”

“The main factor here is that the Castro bid will pay back the £300,000 loan, what happens to the facility doesn’t seem to have been taken into account.”

The facility provided a base for a number of LGBT community projects:

“It was a community hub,” added Stevenson. ” It provided a service for people who don’t want to go on the scene.”

The centre was closed in April, just two years after moving into new premises in the Merchant City.

The £1m refurbishment of the facility included a £300,000 loan from the council, which the Castro bid has said it will pay back.

If it goes ahead, the ­proposal will involve the council giving Castro £47,000 to re-open the centre.

A council spokesman said: “The recommendation is based on the expert advice of officers from different services across the council. They believe the Castro proposal is more strongly aligned with the social inclusion agenda.”

A council spokesperson denied accusation that the Castro bid was given a more favourable deadline, “there were no deadlines, people were not asked to apply and  no deadlines were given to either party.”

Glasgay is one of the most well-regarded LGBT arts events in the UK. It was founded in 1993.

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