MEMBERS of a community group in one of Helensburgh’s most deprived areas say they hope people power can prove the winning formula in transforming the area for the better.

A plea was made at Kirkmichael Community Development Group’s AGM last week for more residents to support the ongoing efforts to improve the fortunes of those living in the scheme, as well as changing the perceptions of many from other sections of the town.

Committee members outlined their vision for the future as they seek a permanent home to hold regular events and activities, while a neighbourhood survey carried out over the last few months revealed that the top priority for residents was to see cleaner streets and more opportunities for young people.

Issues over vandalism, anti-social behaviour, violence and drugs continue to harm the area’s reputation, but Liz Simpson, chair of the KCDG, maintains an optimistic outlook.

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She told the meeting at the Kirkmichael Centre on Buchanan Road: “There are special people here who do a lot to help and I would just like to thank them. We couldn’t do it without them and I can’t thank them enough for everything that they do.

“There’s a lot of support for us to do more, but what we really need is folk to get involved.

“The really strong thing about Kirkmichael is not the buildings, it’s the people and the community.

“We need parents behind us because we just don’t have the numbers.

“We’re trying our best for the community but we need help.”

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The KCDG was started in 2015 and since then, the group’s focus has centred around providing weekly ‘meet and eat’ sessions for local seniors to encourage them to get out of the house and prevent loneliness.

Among the positives highlighted at the AGM were the success of the meet-ups and the work of ‘youth buddies’.

Liz said: “The youth buddies have done a lot for the kids, such as the fireworks event which was a great success and offered the chance for the whole community to come together.

“This is for our community and our future. We have got to look after the young and the old and if we can’t do that, we have no chance.

“The meet and eat has been going nearly three years. It’s for older people in the community to get them out the house and I love to see older people sitting blethering and having a cup of tea.”

The meet and eat sessions currently take place in St Joseph’s Primary School, however, Liz confirmed that a new premises will need to be found from August, and proposed the idea of a central hub for the group.

READ MORE: 'Meet and Eat' proves a big hit in Kirkmichael

She added: “In the long run we do need some kind of centre and maybe we need to concentrate on having a fixed place, but right now we can’t see a clear way to get that.

“If we started to build up some work then we would be in a stronger position to say we need a centre, although you don’t always need a building to do stuff.

“The survey helped us get out and talk to everyone and get a feel for what people are looking for.

“There’s a feeling that there’s more we can do for the younger generations, but we don’t have the facilities to accommodate some of these things.”

The group has previously received backing from Argyll and Bute Council’s Supporting Communities Fund and the committee said they are exploring further opportunities for project grants.

Alternative venues suggested for the meet and eat sessions included the Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre, the Drumfork Club or Jean’s Bothy.