Free Christmas Dinner; and every Wednesday!
Christmas Day 2023
The Whitehouse is a historic building on the banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal in Maryhill. It is Maryhill’s oldest building and has a long and interesting history. We will develop a history blog as we go along.
At the moment we are looking towards the future and establishing the building as a centre for alternative energy, for accessible design promotion and community development. There are a number of live projects underway. Every Wednesday evening, we have free community dinners with food provided by volunteers. These are great networking occasions when locals come together to brainstorm for projects, for instance the litter picks which now happened once a month, and the art projects which are twice a week.
But most exciting part of the Whitehouse’s future is to establish it as headquarters of project with at least UK wide reach. FWN is an organisation of transformational change, one that questions the systems that currently separate us from each other and from the natural world. We advocate and practise alternatives that break down barriers between people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, religions and genders. The Cycling Centre is a shining example of this alternative world, but the point is to make the rest of the world more like that. There are many organisations that advocate a more sustainable society and a great deal of academic research showing that wellbeing comes out of physically active communities where people have the chance to meet each other. But FWN has a working model, not only confined to the Cycling Centre but rippling out to other areas. Outreach has demonstrated public space improvement throughout Glasgow and central Scotland, notably through pop-up cycling centre demonstration. These create demand not only for other centres, but, crucially, for the links between them.
This project needs a UK headquarters: The Whitehouse
Currently on pause are the bike shop and café, but these will get going again in 2024, together with bike hire and venue hire. We have four bookings already for courses to improve driver awareness of cyclists.
Developing the Whitehouse as a centre for alternative energy, human rights and public space, climate awareness and mental health has always been the aspiration. Bolstering human rights will be free legal surgeries for any matters where those without means need legal help.
The Whitehouse was in FWN’s business plan of 2008, before any projects began. The same is true of Glasgow Green. The Glasgow Green Cycling Centre began in 2011 and FWN took the lease on the Whitehouse in 2014. These two poles were chosen in order to forge active travel connections through the city, and the first act of FWN was successfully campaign for the removal of barriers to cycling on the towpath of canal, partially linking the two. In the intervening years active travel infrastructure has also improved between the two. At the moment the Avenues project is working on Sauchiehall street, moving towards a traffic free route between the Whitehouse and Glasgow Green.
All these aspirations are ripe for scaling.