Last-ditch bid saves Centre – A much-loved community centre has a new lease of life.
The people of Knaresborough are celebrating after the Chain Lane Community Centre secured its future with half a million pounds of funding. The North Yorkshire Learning Consortium has won £566,100 in loan and grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government Communitybuilders Fund to buy and refurbish the Centre.
‘We have secured the building for the community,’ said Sue Vasey, Chief Executive of the Consortium. ‘The youth groups, respite care service for disabled people, mental health support group, the over-60s group, and all the other organisations which use the Chain Lane Centre can continue to do so,’ she added.
The centre’s future had been uncertain after Harrogate College transferred to Hull College from Leeds Metropolitan University, but the property remained with Leeds Metropolitan, who had no use for the building. The parties have been working towards a solution for two years. A spokesman for Leeds Met said “we are delighted that the consortium has found funding and will be moving the project forward. It had been good to work together in the interim to support the service provision in Knaresborough.”
Work on the building, which will also become the headquarters for the Consortium, will begin as soon as the sale is complete. ‘We are really excited,’ said Ms Vasey. ‘At a time when the budget cuts are forcing the closure of community services across the country, it’s wonderful to be able to say that services in Knaresborough are being saved.’
‘This is great news and is the result of many years of hard work,’ said Andrew Jones, the MP for Knaresborough. ‘I was delighted when Sue Vasey rang to tell me that the Community Builders Fund had given funding to purchase and renovate Chain Lane Community Centre. The Centre is a key part of the local community hosting many groups and events. Its loss would have been a real blow to Knaresborough.
I was very pleased to be a part of this project from the very beginning as a Councillor and then able to lend my support to the bid as Knaresborough’s MP. I look forward to working with Sue and the team to ensure this vibrant community hub continues to serve local people long into the future.’
County Councillor Carl Les, Executive Member for Corporate Services at North Yorkshire County Council was equally very happy. ‘The Council is proud to have been part of this exciting community-led initiative and we are delighted that North Yorkshire Learning Consortium has secured this funding to safeguard the Centre for the people of Knaresborough,’ he said.
Leanne McEvoy, a young Knaresborough resident, said: ‘It’s great that the Centre will continue to be a home for the young people of Knaresborough. Without it there is nowhere for young people to meet’.
Caroline Forster, Communitybuilders director said: “We’re really pleased we were able to provide an investment from the Communitybuilders Fund which has meant the Chain Lane Community Centre can continue to be a vibrant and important community resource.”