Can Do Places and our community superheroes are in the news. The article feature in, reports back from our event held at Tontine, Glasgow on Thursday 7 February 2019. Read the full article below.

Community ‘superheroes’ who turn empty buildings into local business hubs have been praised by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay.

The Scottish Government-funded Can Do Places initiative hosted an event to celebrate those who fight to overcome obstacles to making good use of space.

It comes as many town centres are left with growing numbers of vacant shop units.

Iain Scott, director of Can Do Places , said:

“Since Can Do Places was launched in 2014, we’ve helped enterprising local people open collaborative work spaces in buildings including former shops, offices, libraries and schools.

“But the process can take years and involve obstacles and opposition at all levels. We need local authorities, property owners and agencies to help reduce or remove as many of these obstacles as possible.”

The event was held at the Tontine building in Glasgow’s Merchant City to encourage local authorities, property owners, politicians, agents and advisers to help entrepreneurs and community campaigners revitalise town centres.

Derek Mackay MSP and Iain Scott, Can Do Places

Obstacles faced include planning and building control issues and difficulty in contacting an absentee landlord.

Mackay, the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, said: “To build an inclusive, resilient and vibrant economy, it is vital that we recognise the unique strengths and assets of every region, city, town and village in Scotland.

“Can Do Places is a core part of our work seeking to build economic resilience in our communities through supporting local groups to bring redundant spaces back to life. I am delighted to be here today to applaud the work of our community superheroes in taking forward such vitally important work.”

Can Do Places argues that a co-working space with 10 businesses each turning over around £50,000 is worth £500,000 to the local economy. If every community in Scotland with more than 1,000 residents had one of these, it would equate to £240m of economic value.

At the event, Can Do Places groups from places such as Oban, Crieff and Alexandria shared their stories, including some of the obstacles they have faced in opening their co-working spaces.

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