A Coupar Angus man wants to dedicate the rest of his life to improving life for people living in the town – starting with a new community centre.
Michael Gallagher has bought the former C&W West electrical shop in George Street and wants to turn it into a free drop in centre.
Tea and coffee will be served in a comfortable environment in his vision and all he is asking for in return is information, as part of the Coupar Angus Social Capital Audit and Democracy Experiment (CASCADE).
He and CASCADE co-founder Bob Talbot will ask people who attend what they like about Coupar Angus and how it can be improved and plans to turn the responses into an action plan for the area.
Michael, a retired furniture maker, said: “For a long time I have wanted a community drop in centre where people can come in, make a cup of tea and just feel at home.
“I hope it will be a professional and inclusive way of finding out how to improve the area for the people who live here, socially, economically and environmentally.”
He hopes his findings will eventually form part of Perth and Kinross Council’s community action plan.
“I’m dedicating the rest of my life to this because I do not feel like there is any really local democracy anymore and I want to see communities have more control over their own affairs.
“I am very optimistic that the findings will be taken on board because I do feel like there is an acknowledgement in society now that local communities should have more power.
“I’m hoping it will be well received by the council and other public bodies.”
A planning application has been lodged to change the George Street unit from a shop to a community centre and Michael hopes to have it up and running sometime next month.
It will only be open in the morning initially but there is potential for opening hours to be extended to all day and even into the evenings if it is successful.
Michael also plans to dedicate an area of the café to Mary Matthews, who ran the former electrical shop for more than 40 years.