The former Ridings School is set to be reborn in perhaps the most ambitious and largest transfer of a Council building to a community organisation ever completed in England. The Threeways Centre in Ovenden, Halifax, will become a vibrant, state of the art facility and a thriving community hub on the site of the old school, which closed in 2009.
The centre will be run by local not-for-profit organisation Threeways, and will provide amazing facilities for everyone, putting the community at its heart and giving a real boost to north Halifax. In addition to the modern doctors’ surgery and sports centre already on site, it will be a place where local people of all ages can keep fit and healthy, meet people, learn new skills, get work experience, be cared for, be entertained, eat, drink and relax.
Threeways is also revitalising the existing sports centre to give people more ways to stay fit and healthy, including a wider variety of exciting activities and more top-quality equipment. The centre will be run mainly by volunteers from the local community.
Calderdale Council will pass the running of the site over to Threeways on 3 June 2013 on a long-term lease, in what is believed to be the biggest community asset transfer in this country. The aim is to open up major investment opportunities, ensure the site continues to thrive in the future, and to have facilities which are run by volunteers with strong roots in the community who know what local people want.
Initial support for the transformation was given by the Council’s Cabinet in April 2012. Now the Council has approved Threeways’ detailed business plan for running the site and involving the community in ideas for its development. The Council will continue to work with Threeways after the handover.
Vital investment has allowed the project to reach this point, with finance from the Key Fund and the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund, delivered by The Social Investment Business on behalf of the Office for Civil Society, helping to develop the business plans for the main buildings and the Threeways Sports Centre.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Environment, Cllr Barry Collins, said:
“The Threeways Centre project is an inspired example of community-based regeneration. Local people will be right at its heart, running the site themselves for the benefit of the whole north Halifax area. I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has worked so hard over the last four years to turn this dream into reality.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Steve Sweeney, said:
“Development isn’t just about building houses; it’s really about building communities. Local people have been involved in planning the Threeways Centre project from the outset and they will continue to play a big part in its future. The Council is committed to partnership working to make sure the development continues to be a thriving part of the community for current and future generations.”
Colin Davies, Chief Executive Officer at Threeways, said:
“We are hoping that with the support of the local community, the Threeways Centre will be a huge success, and the opening of the Threeways Sports Centre is just the beginning. The whole project is about people getting involved to better the area and weve already had an amazing response. We aim to empower the residents and make a real difference for them, their family and friends. Threeways is grateful to those who made this possible and really excited to get started; we look forward to meeting more fantastic people.”
Locality, an organisation which supports social enterprises in local communities, supported Threeways to put forward its business plan and get funding. Neil Berry, Head of Enterprise at Locality, said:
“This is a project that has required huge vision and hard work from a number of people who all deserve great recognition at this point. It has all the ingredients necessary for success in asset transfer passion and commitment, real partnership between the Council and the community, and entrepreneurial drive underpinning it all. Locality has been proud to play a part in its development so far and we are confident it will become a vital hub for the whole of north Halifax.”