A public meting to discuss the future of a new community centre in Chapeltown will take place on Thursday 21st September, 6.30pm at the HOST Media Centre, Sheepscar/Chapeltown. Called by Chapeltown Community Centre Action Group, the meeting aims to pressure Leeds City Council to support the idea, which has the backing of virtually everyone else.
Chapeltown Community Centre Action Group (CCCAG) was formed by local people, as soon as it was known that the centre was being closed by the council. The centre was demolished in 2002 and since then the group has worked to establish local needs and priorities and to put pressure on the council to include the community in discussions over the future use of the site. We meet at least monthly and now have more than 280 individuals and groups on the mailing list. Meetings are well-attended by local residents, ward councillors and community police officers. We have the ongoing support of our local MP - Fabian Hamilton.
Aims of the group
• To support the ongoing sustainable development of Chapeltown through the provision of a high quality multi-cultural, multi-generational and proactive community centre.
• For the centre to be a not-for-profit, financially independent Community Interest Company, run by and for the people of Chapeltown.
“We intend to create a community centre, which will be built by, owned by and managed by the people of Chapeltown for the people of Chapeltown. It will be financially sustainable rather than dependent on fundraising, and will not be 'funding-led', but will encourage projects needed by the community. It will be a flagship environmentally-friendly building, which will require very little energy and maintenance once built, thus keeping running costs to a minimum and providing a building we can all be proud of. There will be a rolling programme of training for all stakeholders to ensure that there is always a pool of skilled people willing and able to manage the business, the projects and the property.”
Where we are now (August 2006)
• The group is ready for a major fundraising effort, and has identified a range of suitable capital and revenue streams, but is unable to start until given an indication from the council/LIFT Company project about plans for the adjacent former Hayfield site.
• The skills of the committee are being developed.
• Local networking and partnership building continue.
• We continue to gather views and ideas from the local community
• We continue to offer our views to the development of the proposed Joint Services Centre that is being developed by the LIFT Company.
In February 2006 we made a deputation to a full council meeting, outlining our case and demanding that an investigation was made into the closure of the centre and allocation of land to the LIFT company without any public consultation. The Executive Committee passed this back to the local Area Management Committee, with whom we now seek to work to develop our proposals.
In May we received £5000 from Awards for All (a huge thanks to them!), and are trying to double this so that we can undertake a full consultation process, feasibility study and business plan.
Who supports a new community centre
Schools, West Yorkshire Police, local residents and businesses, the voluntary and community sector, clubs and societies, young people, old people, politicians - including all the ward councillors and Fabian Hamilton MP. In short, just about everyone we have contacted and worked with since the closure of the old centre. We have letters of support from hundreds of local residents and expressions of interest from over 30 groups that would like to use the centre when it is opened.
What happens next
• Seek another £5000 funding for the feasibility study (£5000 awarded so far!)
• Carry out the feasibility study and consultation events.
• Identify project partners to run activities in the centre.
• Final consultations, architectural drawings, decide elements to include in the centre.
• Prepare business plan.
• Develop management structure and convert from voluntary organisation to a Community Interest Company.
• Attract capital funding and agree terms with project partners.
• Build the centre and hold a grand opening celebration
But none of this can happen until (i) there is a commitment from Leeds City Council to support the project, or (ii) the LIFT Company Joint Service Centre project details have been finalised and negotiations opened between them and the local community.
How you can help
• Come along to the meetings which are held on the 2nd Thursday of the month from 5.30pm, at 180 Chapeltown Road, and find out how you can get involved in the development of the new centre.
• Write a letter of support. A collection of supportive letters will be included in the business plan to demonstrate the level of support from the community.
• Contact the group and let us know what you’d like to see included in the centre, or any ideas you have for the building.
• Pressure the council to include us in discussions and listen to our case • Help with fundraising - initially for full feasibility study and business plan.
Contact information for Chapeltown Community Centre Action Group
c/o Cornerstone Resource Centre
16 Sholebroke Avenue, Chapeltown, Leeds, LS7 3HB
0113 262 9365