The Falkirk Muslim Educational and Cultural Community Centre in Stirlingshire, Scotland, was set up 13 years ago to cater for the Sunni Muslims of Falkirk. However the run down premises were becoming too small and a portacabin was being used as the women’s temporary hall.
Khalid Saeed, chairman of the centre’s management committee, led fund raising and approached Stuart Bell, Relationship Manager at RBS in Livingston for help in obtaining a loan which could be combined with donations of £70,000 form the community so that construction could be finished without any delays and on time.
Work started in January to renovate the premises and construct a new, bigger hall. Designed and led by local architect, Les Johnson of seven sixty two Ltd, the new-look premises now includes a new kitchen and a new women's hall.
The expansion means will enable the Falkirk Muslim Educational and Cultural Community Centre to accept more members. The extra space also means that funerals will be allowed to take place in the near future, once a washing area for the deceased is constructed.
Saeed said: “We now have a much nicer environment which is conducive to prayer and the study of Arabic and the Koran. It comes at a key moment for us and we have a lot of people to thank for their hard work. The community stuck together and contributed generously.
“We want to attract more people to come to us to see the range of activities that are on offer and will be holding a formal opening and some open days so that anyone at all can come along, see what we do and ask questions.”
The renovation and increased space means there will be more activities on offer for younger people, including sport and recreation.
Saeed said: “We want young people to share our way of thinking which is to combine our religion with a modern view of the western world and the community that we live in. We hope the improved facilities will have a positive impact on the local economy.”
Stuart Bell from RBS added: “At RBS we feel passionately about bringing together communities. We were impressed by the vision that Khalid and the committee at the Falkirk Muslim Educational and Cultural Community Centre had for learning and social interaction and were delighted to be able to support it.”