Fun day planned at Paisley sports facility at center of ownership battle

A fun day is being staged at a community sports club at the center of an ownership battle.

Ralston Community Council is against a proposal by Kelburne Hockey Club to take over Ralston Community Sports Centre.

The club is looking for a community asset transfer to take over the Penilee Road site from OneRen, formerly Renfrewshire Leisure.

There has been widespread opposition to the plan from locals who don’t want to see another community asset fall into private ownership.

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Now a community fun day is being held between 10am and noon on tomorrow to celebrate the 25th anniversary of sports club Ralston Skills Practice and demonstrate the strength of feeling about the plans.

Allan Thompson, chair of Ralston Community Council, said: “The community don’t want Kelburne Hockey Club to take that asset away.

“We’ve teamed up with Ralston Skills Practice for their open day to celebrate their 25th anniversary.

“If the community asset transfer goes ahead, they won’t be able to use the center any more.

“We’re holding the event to celebrate 25 years of a great local club but also to raise awareness of what we could lose if this goes ahead.

“The facility has been run down for a long time, it needs investment.

“The community do not want this, or any community asset transfer.”

Norrie Murray runs Ralston Skills Practice and said a community asset transfer would be the end of the club.

He said: “We don’t focus on football, it’s just about getting the kids out and active.

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“If the transfer goes ahead, we would have nowhere else to go on a Saturday morning. It’s a piece of public community green space that would be lost if it is taken over.

“I’ve been told that over 1,000 football players use it every week. If it’s turned into a hockey club, where do those players go?”

A fun day is planned on Saturday, April 23

Billy Davies, the St Mirren legend who founded Skills, will be at Saturday’s open day to present current members with a medal and see them through their routines.

The community council has also organized two inflatable assault courses, face painting, a candy floss machine, a home baking stall arranged by St Marks Church, a plant sale, and art competition to design a logo for them.

Members will also be canvassing opinion on the future of the sports centre.

Kelburne Hockey Club said the current Ralston artificial pitch will need replaced in three years and the center is tired.

Club secretary Billy Anderson previously said they would open up the asset to the community.

He said: “We are just another small community club, like football clubs across Renfrewshire, that want to play sport in their own community.

“We have 250 members ranging from age six to 76 and hockey is genuinely a sport that is played by people of all ages and also bridges the gender gap.”

He added: “It has massive potential and no-one has yet made any concrete plans to do anything.

“We will put on clubhouse events, open it up free to community groups and remain connected to the likes of Ralston Active Community Organisation.

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“We will open a barista cafe and there will be additional coaching activities.”

In 2003, Renfrewshire Council transferred the running of its sporting facilities, libraries and museums to charitable trust Renfrewshire Leisure, now known as OneRen.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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