History of the Torrance Boy's Club
The aim of the club was 'to help and educate boys through their leisure time activities so to develop their physical, mental and spiritual capacities that they may grow to full maturity as individuals and members of society and their conditions of life may be improved'.
In 1948 Archibald Kemp in consideration of the price of £750 conveyed to the Trustees the lands known as Wardhill, Torrance ( now called Woodmill Park). If the club were to later dissolve then the property would be transferred to the Scottish Association of Boys Clubs: the body that granted the money for the land. The club constitution of 1948 also had a document attached allowing Partick Thistle Football Club to use the ground for 15 years. The land was later given to the Torrance Boys Club by the now dissolved SABC.
In 1968 the club sold some land to Mr Ferrie, the club trainer, to build a house. This is now called 'Rosedale". Extensive dumping on the land from building sites took place to provide a useful revenue for the club. Dumping came to a halt in 1969 because of a dispute over trusteeship of the land. The ground was levelled and topsoil added and grassed over.
The clubhouse at this time held football training sessions and it also had a billiards room. Plans to upgrade the clubhouse were well advanced. The minutes of March 1969 indicated that the committee members were not in agreement about the object of the club. Some wanted it to be for football only, others felt the club should be opened to the wider community to extend its activities. The price of membership in 1969 was 10p. At the AGM in 1970, the chairperson expressed his gratification at the increased interest in the club and stressed the importance of widening the membership. It was hoped they would be able to start judo classes and table-tennis.
In 1977 An outline planning proposal was passed by Strathkelvin District Council to allow the Boys’ Club to build a clubhouse with facilities for two football teams, badminton and other activities. The objects were:
(A) To provide both outdoor and indoor sports and recreation facilities for all youth organisations of the village of Torrance and area, should they wish to use such facilities.
(B) To make available to all community organisations of the village of Torrance the full facilities owned at present and developed for the future by Torrance Boys’ Club
The proposal to sell the less usable portion of the property, west of the clubhouse site, for a housing development was not given outline planning permission at that time, but a further submission with amended proposals was hoped to be successful.
These plans were never realised and the club eventually ceased to function.
Subsequent years saw a large expansion of houses in Torrance with the growth in population to 2,500 people. A new school was built, but no new community facilities, apart from a play park in 2007 and a new school sports hall in 2008.
The clubhouse had a chequered history with repeated acts of vandalism and the plans for a new one never came to fruition. Interest in the club waned although football matches continued into the early 1990's when it stopped altogether. The club discontinued and it was not until 2001 that, following 3 public meetings called by two successive councillors, a committee was elected in response to villagers concerns at the lack of decent community facilities. In 2003 the one remaining trustee of the former Boys Club was traced and he assisted the group by convening a Special General Meeting of the Boys Club. At this, as acting chairperson, he formally resigned, and a new committee was elected. The remit of the committee was to develop proposals for new facilities on the former Boys Club land. The elected group initially operated the accounts under the name of the Boy's Club.
The initial years after the Boy's club was resurrected, saw little progress and was fraught with setbacks.
The committee updated and revised the constitution to reflect the intentions of the former Boys Club committee to allow the wider community to use any future building on Woodmill Park The name was also formally changed to Torrance Community Initiative. Charitable status was obtained shortly after.
A few years later the title deeds were finally approved by the Land Registrar of Scotland for transfer to TCI. This was made possible because the Boys Club had not formally wound up and so the property did not transfer to the S.A.B.C. as well as the fact that the evidence presented by TCI satisfied the Land Registrar that the objects of TCI were in line with those of the Boys Club.
Subsequently, however, the proposals developed by TCI were rejected by East Dunbartonshire Council. The two over-riding reasons were that the land had now in the 1990's been zoned as green belt and the council had never conducted its intended review of leisure facilities in Torrance. These issues required to be resolved before further progress was made towards obtaining the facilities villagers deserve.