The long campaign to buy the 2.4 hectare piece of land had been described as an ‘uphill struggle’ by the Linwood Community Development Trust, who hope to create a better future for residents.

Having suffered from a long history of industrial decline, Linwood has been the focus of regeneration since 2007 — and the group fought to make sure their voice was heard by the council throughout the process.

Kirsty Flannigan, board member of Linwood Community Development Trust, said: “Our journey began in 2009 and the past 4 years have been like rolling jelly up a hill.  We campaigned on behalf of our community to ensure our voices were heard during major regeneration programmes such as a £24m Sports Facility and a new Tesco development.

“Our campaigns were for Linwood to receive a proportion of ‘our regeneration’ funding or to have a voice during the process to ensure facilities were built that met the needs of the Linwood community.

“We did not want the failures of the past, such as the car factory and the shopping centre to be repeated. However, at the time we were ignored, disempowered and on many occasions made to feel inferior by those in power but we agreed to persevere until we would eventually wake someone up”.

The Linwood Community Development Trust got residents involved in decisions for the site by drawing up a Community Action Plan.

Backed by Renfrewshire councillors, the buy-over succeeded with support from the Asset Transfer policy.

Kirsty continued: “Our initial plan for the land is to build a football facility with changing facilities and later extend this by building a community wellbeing centre that will address many issues outlined in the Community Action Plan.

“We believe this land will help build Linwood from the inside out as it will provide more-than-profit projects that will bring added value by supporting the real future regeneration that our community needs.” The organisation have received support from the Development Trust Association Scotland, Foundation Scotland through its ‘Our Community, Our Future’ programme; and Oxfam Scotland’s Grow Trust programme.

Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, welcomed the move, saying: “This transfer of land to the Linwood Community Development Trust is a real expression of this community’s determination to build a better future for its residents. “This is exactly the sort of programme that I’m keen to encourage throughout Renfrewshire; empowering local people and supporting their ambitions. I congratulate LCDT on its vision and determination and will continue to work with the group to deliver on this project and the community’s plan and aspirations.” Councillor Stuart Clark added: “I have been delighted to support the Linwood Community Development Trust since my election last year. They are a forward looking, energetic group of volunteers working extremely hard for their local community. I’m pleased that solid progress is being made and I will continue to do whatever I can to help in the future.

Once winning ‘The Most Dismal Town in Scotland’ title from Carbuncle Awards in 2011, Linwood has suffered from a legacy of poverty and unemployment over the past few decades.

But Jeanette Anderson, Chairperson for Linwood Community Development Trust, says it’s onwards and upwards for the town.

She said: “At long last we are starting to see a wave of change happening in Linwood and would urge communities who are facing the same hardships to never ever give up if you believe something is worth fighting for.   “After all, this is our community, our future, and who best knows what the community needs, than the community itself.