Centre fears loss of grant

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A BUSY Brighouse community centre may be forced to increase hire charges after being told it will lose its grant of £17,000 from Calderdale Council next year.

Spending cutbacks are being blamed for the decision to stop the grant to Waring Green Community Association in March.

Secretary Stuart Whitaker said: “The grant is the mainstay of our funding. It costs around £62,000 a year to run the building and without help from the local authority we will probably have to consider increasing charges to our users which is not something we want to do.

“We have written to the council expressing our concerns but in the current climate I think they feel there is no alternative.”

The centre, formerly Waring Green Congregational Church and school rooms, has been run for use by the community since 1951. It is in use every day of the week for classes, dances, playgroups and meetings.

One of the biggest users of the centre is the Third Age Group which has 450 members and promotes a wide range of classes and activities.

“It is a very well-used building and it really is at the hub of the community,” said Mr Whitaker. “The trouble is that we need more volunteers to get on board and join the committee to help us through this difficult time.”

The Third Age Singers, led by Mrs Freda Hiley, and Westfield Male Voice Choir gave a concert which raised more than £450 towards running costs at the centre.

“We wanted to help out by raising some money towards running costs. A lot of people use the centre and it’s going to be great shame if charges are increased,” said Mrs Hiley.

The Third Age Singers meet and practise at the centre every Friday afternoon from September to July.

Mrs Hiley also plays the piano for Westfield Male Voice Choir, led by Ian Walker, and both sets of singers are formed of people over the age of 55 with members well into their eighties and nineties.