Football stars kick off Cube investment campaign

Two top Scottish football stars returned to their roots to kick-off a massive £40million campaign to transform thousands of homes and make communities safer.

Football stars are on the ball to help launch Cube's £40 million investment

Former Scotland striker Charlie Nicholas and Greenock Morton manager Jim Duffy learned their football skills growing up in the Wyndford estate in Glasgow's Maryhill in the 1960s and 70s.

They returned to their old community today to launch a multi-million pound campaign by Cube Housing Association which will see neighbourhoods transformed across the West of Scotland.

The huge investment over the next five years will see over 2800 Cube houses get new bathrooms, 322 a new kitchen while hundreds will get new heating, double-glazing, rewiring and secure doors. Many multi-storey blocks will also be revamped with upgraded CCTV and lighting, new-look foyers and even new laundry facilities.

In addition, Cube, which is part of Wheatley Group, plans to build over 840 new affordable homes in an £88.5m new-build programme.

The investment in homes will be carried out in Cube's communities in Glasgow - which include Wyndford and Broomhill – and West Dunbartonshire as well as smaller areas of housing in North and South Lanarkshire, East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire.

Nicholas, one of Britain's leading football pundits on Sky Sports show 'Soccer Saturday', said: "I went back to the Wyndford a while ago. I wanted to show my kids where I used to live. It was funny as they thought I lived in the whole block, not just the one flat. I'm chuffed to bits to see the money that's been spent there.

"I've tremendous memories from growing up in the Wyndford. It was a great community – the sort of place where you could leave your front and back doors open. There was a real togetherness.

"When I look back, the part the Wyndford played in my career was huge. All I wanted to do was play football. There was a playpen nearby that had two benches which we turned into goals. I was in there every day – even when no-one else was around. I just kept practising and practising.

"I remember the games well. Some days it was 20-a-side. The boys were all older and bigger than me and it was tough. But James was like my bodyguard, he looked after me. It was part of my football education."

Former Dundee and Partick Thistle defender Duffy lived next door to the former Arsenal and Scotland striker at Glenfinnan Road.

Duffy, whose sister Elizabeth still lives in the estate, added: "I still go back regularly to see my sister and I've seen the estate develop a lot over the years. A lot of money has been spent on it. £40million is a lot of money to spend on communities. It will make a difference.

"We moved there when I was six from Cowcaddens and I didn't leave until 22. I remember thinking we were rich and posh when we moved in. It was brand new. We had our own bathroom, our own bedroom and there was an area outside to play. It was like winning the lottery.

"A number of families moved from Cowcaddens at the same time so we knew a lot of people before we arrived. We already knew the Nicholas' before moving to Wyndford. It was a great community. Each part of the estate had its own football team. I remember us getting chased off the grass by the local policeman. We were out there all day. Even from an early age you could tell Charlie was a prodigy. He was a standout even at the age of five or six."

The £40million investment in homes doubles the amount of improvement work originally planned by Cube over the next five years. The increase is being funded by money raised by Wheatley Group through a public bond in late 2014 and is one of the tangible benefits for Cube tenants of being part of Wheatley.

Cube will engage with local people, listening to their views on their priorities for making neighbourhoods better places for everyone to live in. Tenants will then shape what improvements are taken forward in each area through a £5m fund for environmental work.

Cube Chair Liz Ruine said: "We want all our customers to live in top-quality, modern homes and then to step outside into a community they feel safe in. Our £40m drive to improve homes and communities will make sure all our homes are as modern and as warm and comfortable as they possibly can be - now and long into the future.

"All of us at Cube are really looking forward to working with local people in each of our neighbourhoods on bringing forward environmental improvements people tell us will make the biggest difference to their community."

The £40m drive to modernise and upgrade homes comes after a series of regeneration and upgrade projects carried out by Cube in its communities over the past few years. That included £27million of work in Wyndford in Maryhill, Glasgow, which saw 1900 homes benefit from a district heating scheme and overcladding. Households in Wyndford have reported average fuel bill savings of 39% as a result.

Ms Ruine added: "This £40m project will add to the work we've done so far to make homes warmer and more energy-efficient by bringing a wide range of further improvements to our communities. It will also ensure every home in every community benefits from improvement work."

Pictured: Charlie Nicholas and Jim Duffy with Cube staff and tenants at the launch of Cube's £40m investment plans for its homes.

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Thursday, March 24, 2016