A local organisation will support a bright future for the former Sowerby Bridge Youth and Community Centre, after Calderdale Council officially handed over the running of the facility to the Foundry Street Community Centre group.
The former Sowerby Bridge Youth and Community Centre is a building steeped in history and originally a Wesleyan Mission Chapel. Most recently, the facility was operated by Calderdale Council, but closed in March 2020 and did not reopen after the pandemic.
In January 2022, the Council’s Cabinet gave approval to offer the building as a community asset transfer. The Foundry Street Community Centre group expressed an interest in reopening the building as a community facility for local groups and organisations.
The Council considered the group’s business plan very carefully, and after a rigorous process, confirmed their successful application in March 2023. Since then, teams from the Council and the community group have been working together to agree the terms of the lease, whilst the group have also secured charity status from the Charity Commission.
The community asset transfer is now complete, and the Council has granted a 125-year lease to the Foundry Street Community Centre group, which plan to reopen the facility for the benefit of the wider Sowerby Bridge community.
The group is committed to providing an accessible and inclusive facility which is valued and supported by the community. Many local groups have already submitted an interest in running activities from the location.
The group is now carrying out minor works to the interior of the building, with plans to reopen the facility this winter, with most new users being in before Christmas. The first groups have already begun to use the main hall, which only needed a deep clean, and a rolling programme of inductions is planned for the coming weeks for a wide range of other users.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources, Cllr Silvia Dacre, said:
“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to progress this community asset transfer and support a bright future for the former Sowerby Bridge youth and community centre. I know an awful lot of hard work has taken place to get to this point and I’d like to congratulate the Foundry Street Community Centre on their well prepared and thorough business plan.
“As part of our Future Council work, we’ve explored interest from community groups to take over the running of some of our buildings. This is the fourth community asset transfer which has been completed in the last 12 months, with local groups also taking over the running of Skircoat and Stainland libraries, and Heptonstall Museum.
“By working together, we’ve been able to secure a sustainable future for these buildings with groups who share our ambitions and contribute to the council priorities of supporting thriving towns and reducing inequalities.”
Sheila Eastwood from the Foundry Street Community Centre, said:
“We are excited and delighted to finally have the keys, and to be able to save such a historic community asset. The support we have had from the community has demonstrated the need for these facilities, and we plan to turn Foundry Street Community Centre into a thriving hub for Sowerby Bridge.”
The organisation is looking for volunteers in a number of different roles, and has planned an open evening at the centre where potential volunteers can find out more on Monday 27 November from 7 – 8pm. Anyone with an interest in supporting the future of the site, or with an interest in volunteering, is also encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org