HARD work and community spirit has transformed a no-go area of Glasgow into a vibrant and safe haven.

In the 1980s Fruin Street, in Possilpark, was the most deprived Census district in Glasgow.

Known as 'The Jungle', crime and drug problems, high unemp-loyment and poor health and housing were rife. Dozens of the 384 homes lay empty and 16 had been torched.

Taxi drivers refused to take passengers to the area.

Now, 25 years after Hawthorn Housing Co-operative carried out what is thought to be the UK's first council stock transfer, it has celebrated its silver jubilee.

Moves towards the trans-formation began in June 1984 when residents got together with the hope of setting up a housing co-operative and taking ownership of the homes from Glasgow City Council.

They enlisted Jim Wintour, director of Queens Cross Housing Association and, in all, 21 people campaigned until 1987 to set up what is now Hawthorn Housing Co-operative.

They believed it was the best route to sourcing funding to improve the housing stock.

By October 1984, residents had voted 110-1 in favour of a co-oper-ative and members went the extra mile to win the support of councillors en-route to China.

Irene Campbell, director of Hawthorn Housing Association, said: "Hugh Martin and another resident bought tickets on the flight the councillors were taking to London – the first leg of the trip – to lobby them mid air. Even- tually, Glasgow City Council agreed Possil could be added to the list of co-ops."

The group then turned its attentions to the UK Government and Pat Kenna took the lead in trying to secure the support of the civil servants and ministers.

In 1987, the co-op was regist-ered with the Housing Corpor-ation and the first houses were transferred from the council. In September 1987, improvement works started in Finlas Street.

Eventually all 384 houses were transferred to the Co-op, funded by the Housing Corporation and a bank loan.

Irene said: "Twenty-five years on, the area is attractive, in demand and not a penny of the public money invested in the area has been wasted."

A £12million programme is now under way to improve houses over the next 30 years.

A celebration to mark the Co-operative's anniversary saw Mr Wintour lead the tributes to the local people and MSP Patricia Ferguson unveiled a plaque.

Helen Graham, secretary of Hawthorn Housing Co-operative, said: "When I was growing up everyone wanted to escape from an address in 'The Jungle'.

"I am so proud of the effort local people have put in to trans-form the area into a safe neigh-bourhood that is in demand."