The Safety Zone – From The Beginning
The pilot programme for The Safety Zone was The Pigeon Café. Despite its spartan surroundings and minimal facilities, the weekly ‘drop-in’ evening proved popular from the outset. Children of school age enthusiastically participated in board games, quizzes, sports and chat. The simplicity of the format added to the relaxed atmosphere, enabling friendships to develop and a sense of ‘ownership’ to grow. Its appeal clearly demonstrated that there was an interest in, and a need for, a long-term commitment. Encouraged by the response to the pilot, time was taken to plan the project, raise funds and erect a purpose-built centre in the heart of the village.
The Safety Zone building was formally opened on 22nd September 2000.
In the years since, the work of The Safety Zone has evolved and developed to respond to the changing needs of the community. Building constructive relationships has always been an important aspect of The Safety Zone’s work. We are the only staffed community facility for young people in this area outwith the schools. We consult with and listen to local people and network with regional public and voluntary organisations to identify needs and contribute to solutions.
The Safety Zone now offers a full range of activities or services: Parent and toddler groups, seven children’s/youth groups catering from the time they enter school through to school leavers, Routes to Work, the Citizens Advice Bureau, The Credit Union and Councillors’ surgeries. We also facilitate additional activities, including weekly dance, gymnastics and martial arts classes, as well as older people’s and supported adults programmes. An IT suite has been used to teach literacy and computer skills and for homework, HE and FE assignments, games and social pursuits, all carefully controlled by vigilant staff.
The Board of Directors at The Safety Zone consists of six people who continue to make the executive decisions for the project and meet both formally and socially on a regular basis. The Project employs a full-time manager, a full-time youth worker, part-time youth workers, and volunteers to fulfil all the work required to have a fully functional centre.
The main concern continues to be for the children and young people in the community. The Safety Zone aims to promote choices which encourage potential and maximise the opportunities for young people’s growth and development into responsible adults. The Safety Zone offers targeted activities to enhance the young person’s social, physical and educational well-being, as well as offering a ‘safe haven' from external and damaging influences.
Roy's map of 1750 shows a village named "Bargeddy" and Forrest's map of 1801 has a hamlet name "Balgedy". This suggests that the original name comes from 'Bal' - Gaelic for a settlement - and possibly from the Gaelic word 'geadaibh', meaning a ploughed field!
The 1801 map shows "Balgedy" surrounded by a large number of thin strips of fields, alternatively owned by Messrs Wark and Muirhead. These narrow fields, without hedge or tree boundaries, were the last remains of the traditional "runrig" pattern of field management. By 1817 Forrest discovered that Bargeddie House was in the hands of Mr Wark who had replaced the runrig pattern with a modern large field pattern.
In 1864 Bargeddie was chosen by the Baird Trust as the site for a new church school to service the nearby mining villages of Cuilhill and Langmuir. It was chosen because of its central position and its location on the main road. The original school building has now been converted into apartments.
It has been said that Bargeddie was at the cutting edge of Victorian technology - albeit briefly! In 1864 the Lochwood Pit at Cuilhill, owned by the Bairds, saw the operation of the first chain-driven coal cutting machine in Scotland. It was known as "The Gartsherrie" and, though it was plagued by unreliability, it became the prototype for mechanical coal-cutting machines right up to the 20th century.
Bargeddie Parish Church was built in 1876. It is isolated from Bargeddie and was built on land donated by the Misses Black, owners of Heatheryknowe. One of them later married the first minister of the church.
Braehead United Free Church in Bargeddie was Built as a Free Church mission 1892 and adhered unanimously to the Continuing Church, 1929, and sits on Langmuir Road at the entrance to the village.
St. Kevin’s RC Church was opened in 1950 and is situated in Mainhill Road within the village.
All the churches in Bargeddie have been very supportive of The Safety Zone and joint services are held occasionally throughout the year.
Bargeddie developed as part of a mining community in the western part of the Old Monkland Parish and other local industries followed, such as a brickworks, opened in 1900, which at one time produced 4.5 million bricks per year.
Bargeddie grew, along with neighbouring Cuihill and Drumpark, in association with the mining of coal. In the late 1940s a major housing estate was created to accommodate an influx of inhabitants from Glasgow and the surrounding areas.
In recent years Bargeddie has begun to expand as part of the overall Glasgow area expansion with the addition of the Drumpellier Lawns housing development.
Bargeddie is now a community with a population of approximately 3,500 located on the north-east tip of Lanarkshire and adjacent to the Easterhouse housing scheme.
The decline of local steel, brickwork and coal industries in the 70s and 80s led to some long-term unemployment, but people didn’t move away but stayed put. This caused a coherent and loyal population to develop in Bargeddie, but also caused some of the typical social problems to emerge within the village, such as family breakdown, one-parent families, alcohol and drug abuse. This profile is not unique to Bargeddie but can be found in many communities around Glasgow and other large cities.
Occasionally 'territorial issues' can become evident, especially with the other communities abutting Bargeddie; and, although there are good leisure facilities close by at the Showcase development and also in both Easterhouse and Coatbridge, many fear travelling to these facilities or even using public transport in the evenings, aware of difficulties which may arise if they are seen by those outside Bargeddie in a different ‘territory’.
Despite these issues, or perhaps because of them, members of the community continue to be very supportive of The Safety Zone.