Innovation Exchange

Barrhead Foundry


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


Further Information

East Renfrewshire Council’s innovative project to transform its former sports centre in Barrhead, concluded in January 2015 with the opening of the Barrhead Foundry.  The Foundry brings together leisure facilities, a state-of-the-art library, cutting-edge technology, help for people to find jobs, plus access to college and university courses, all under one roof.  It is a unique space that is now bringing real benefits to local residents.


Barrhead Foundry is the place to be for anyone who is interested in sharing ideas, having fun, getting fit or trying something new – and it’s open to everyone.  Designed in-house by East Renfrewshire Council’s Property & Technical Services Team, the Foundry gives local residents access to a first-class library, enhanced sports facilities, digital hub, café, business centre and free WiFi.  The centre also provides a members only area for local business people or those looking to start their own businesses, where they can get support and advice.  We have delivered a “town centre first” approach to ensure the social objectives of the project were achieved alongside the physical transformation of Barrhead.

Theme: Housing and Regeneration

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Our vision is to be a “modern, ambitious council creating a fairer future with all.”  To achieve this vision it was clear that action was required in Barrhead to bring about more positive futures for the people who live there.  We realised that the old sports centre was tired and in desperate need of an upgrade; and that by combining individual budgets for a new library and business centre as well as the existing sports budget, we would be able to collaborate to create the desired multi-use facility for the whole community.


To achieve our vision we established a number of social and business related objectives:

• Make it a multi-purpose facility that complements existing public services and delivers multiple benefits to the town centre;

• Introduce a range of employability and business support partners to provide a focused service for clients;

• Stimulate investment in the privately owned shopping parade;

• Complete the ambitious physical transformation of the town centre, delivering a high quality design building to create a strong sense of place


In order to encourage different services to come together and collaborate (as they would need to when the new facility opened) we brought in an external consultant to facilitate a number of ‘Brainjuice’ creativity workshops.  Representatives from across the Council participated in this process which has helped us to create a calendar of events for the facility.


The sports facilities were refurbished to upgrade the main games hall and also enclose the former stage area to create an additional space.  Work has been done to upgrade the changing areas and install new fitness equipment.  Barrhead Library has moved from a temporary location to the Foundry where it will build on the success of our Giffnock Library in creating a cutting-edge library and learning space for the community.


The range of council and partner services all under one roof means that service delivery will become more efficient and customer service will become more effective and responsive.

The physical delivery of the Foundry has been a collaborative effort between our Education and Environment departments with budgets aligned to enable the investment, and officers across departments working together to deliver the services within the building.


The Foundry has delivered a Further Education presence in the heart of Barrhead for the first time with a programme of courses being delivered by our FE partners.


The Council’s Employability team and Skills Development Scotland are based within the building to deliver career information, advice, guidance and offer individuals opportunities to improve their long-term employment prospects.


The facility is a high quality design that has rejuvenated the old Barrhead Sports Centre and revolutionised the way we deliver a range of services to local residents.  From its opening in January 2015 we have already had over 140,000 visitors to the centre.


Business at Barrhead Foundry has been developed to creating an experience like no other in East Renfrewshire; and one that surpasses facilities on offer by traditional providers across the West of Scotland.  Members will be given access to high quality flexible working spaces, high speed WiFi, tea and coffee making facilities, meeting rooms, desk space and invaluable opportunities to network and collaborate with like-minded and forward thinking professionals in the East Renfrewshire area.

We have delivered a “town centre first” approach to ensure the social objectives of the project were achieved alongside the physical transformation of Barrhead.  The strategy has enabled private sector investment in the town centre through the new ASDA superstore and has been a catalyst for change across Barrhead.


Barrhead Foundry is an exemplar partnership project between East Renfrewshire Council and Job Centre Plus, Business Gateway, Skills Development Scotland, Chamber of Commerce, West College Scotland, University of the West of Scotland, Citizens Advice Bureau and Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire.  All partners are contributing to a diverse range of high quality services under one roof for all our residents.


Through the Barrhead Foundry, these partners will address social and economic issues prevalent within the Barrhead community (unemployment, skills gaps, addiction and crime, poor physical and mental health) by connecting our residents with better opportunities, uniting diverse communities, bridging gaps in health, education and employment, creating shared experiences and building community capacity.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Christine Browne

Economic Development Officer

East Renfrewshire Council

0141 577 3774/8433

Case study added to site: June 2016

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