A BEARSDEN woman’s dream of creating a safe and fun place for children with special needs to play has at last become a reality.
Jackie McDonald (52) set up a charity five years ago to raise funds to build a centre for children with disabilities and learning difficulties when she realised there was a desperate need for it in the area.
The centre was given full planning permission last October and the building work is now set to start in a few months and the ground has already been cleared.
Jackie’s own son, Liam, now 18-years-old, was born with tuberous sclerosis which means that he suffers from epilectic seizures. In the past he suffered from them on a daily basis, he also has learning difficulties and is on the autistic spectrum.
Single parent Jackie said: “Liam has always had challenging behaviour and at times I have struggled to cope.
“I would have really loved somewhere to take him where he could play but there was nowhere suitable.
“I believe that all children have the right to develop and realise their own potential and that is why this project is so important to me.
“We want to give these children what they need and offer support to parents and other family members that is so lacking at the moment.”
The former shareholders of Clydebank FC have leased three acres of land on Great Western Road, Clydebank, to the charity so they can build the indoor and outdoor facilities and it will be named the Davie Cooper Centre, in memory of the international football player who started his career with the club and tragically collapsed and died at the age of 39 while coaching young children.
The centre will offer short stay overnight respite and home support as well as a disability learning unit.
Jackie added: “It has been a long, emotional journey to get to this stage and we are delighted that building work can begin so soon.
“We have been lucky enough to get a lot of funding and support from Jon Bowles from the charity Perpetual Legacy - he has become the charity’s director - and we will now be able to apply for more cash from large organisations such as the lottery and trust funds to be able to complete the project.”
Jackie would also like to thank Marks and Spencer, Milngavie, as they nominated The Davie Cooper Centre as their chosen charity last year.
The internal layout of the learning disability unit is currently being finalised and costed - to find out more about the project and give feedback on what you’d like to see in the centre go to www.thedaviecoopercentre.org.
You can also phone 0141 941 1850 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.