Colin and Justin on the Estate

Thursday 1 February: 20.00–21.00

Interior designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan continue the challenge of transforming a Glasgow housing estate. In this last programme they attempt to create a welcoming community hall and a youth club that will help keep the estate’s kids out of mischief.

Over the course of the series, Colin and Justin have created a show flat, initiated a project to tackle the estate’s litter problem and set up a cybercafé. Now they turn their attention to creating a community hall. The existing hall seems to cater exclusively for pensioners’ bingo get-togethers and looks dull and uncared-for, with dark-painted walls that remind Justin of “the inside of a child’s nappy.” To find out how to improve matters, the first step is to call a meeting of the women who run the hall and the residents who would like to make use of it in the future. A few bottles of wine later, everyone seems to be positive about the possibilities.

But, as ever, money is a sticking point. Colin and Justin estimate that they need £25,000 to bring about the revamp they are hoping for. Their trusty assistant Roseanne joins forces with the staff of the hall to apply for a variety of grants. A few weeks later, they receive some disheartening rejections. Gradually, however, the positive responses trickle through, promising a grant of £5,000, a donation of £4,000 by a local supermarket, and £2,000-worth of free materials from a builders’ merchant. Their final grant application also proves successful, bringing the total budget to an impressive £16,000 – less than they had hoped for, but enough to tackle the main jobs.

The transformation takes place over a two-week period when the hall is closed for the summer. Roseanne joins forces with some volunteers from the estate to pull up the flooring and help out with other tasks, while contractors are brought in to install a new kitchen and much-needed new toilets. Wood panelling, new flooring and stylish pendant lighting gives the main hall a total makeover that leaves Kathy, one of its staff, bowled over. “It’s a dream!” she says tearfully.

It remains to be seen whether the revamp of the community hall will make a real difference to life on the estate. In the meantime, Colin and Justin have another challenge on their hands. They are determined to create a youth club to keep the estate’s kids off the streets and give them a place to get together.

Delighted to be awarded money from the Lottery Fund, the pair set about planning a youth club that will meet the needs of the community. But it quickly dawns on them that this will not go far when it comes to creating a high-quality facility from scratch, plus recruiting staff to run it. “After all the planning and heartache comes the sad realisation of what that cash can achieve,” says a downcast Justin. Can they find a way to supplement the existing budget?

Thursday 25 January: 20.00–21.00
Interior designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan continue the challenge of transforming a Glasgow housing estate. The pair are still hoping to make a lasting difference to the estate and have plenty to keep them busy while their plans for a youth club await final approval from the funders.

Their next big project is to create a community café. A pub and solitary bench are currently the only public places where people can meet up locally, and the guys hope to redress the balance. After spotting suitable premises, Justin eagerly rings up to see if the property is still up for grabs. As it turns out, however, a development company already has plans in the pipeline.

The guys arrange a meeting with executives from the development company to discuss whether the two worthwhile projects can be combined for the benefit of local residents. Colin and Justin’s assistant Roseanne creates a technical model that will win the development company round to the idea. Input from two residents reveals a particular need for the end result to be user-friendly for young mothers. “It’s as much about hearts and minds as it is about bricks and mortar,” says Justin. But will the final plans be given the green light?

Another issue Colin and Justin want to tackle is the exterior of the estate. Instead of costly landscaping, the pair suggest a competition, with a cash prize going to the person who does the best job of revamping their own balcony. The housing association agrees to pilot it in one block. They will paint all the balconies to Colin and Justin’s blueand- terracotta design, as long as two thirds of the block’s residents agree. Later, each household can claim money to add personal touches.

A majority vote means the scheme can go ahead. There’s another problem, however. One of the flats in the block is privately owned and housingassociation funds cannot be used to decorate it. Colin and Justin go to visit its owner Karen. Her bold red-and-white living-room scheme suggests that they boys may have met their match designwise. Is their plan doomed or can it make a difference to the estate?

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