Youth centre move agreed

Gildersome Youth Centre.
Gildersome Youth Centre.

A plan to transfer community groups from the under-threat Gildersome Youth Centre into the village’s meeting hall has been backed by the majority of youth leaders and parents.

No timetable has yet been established for the move, which will require Gildersome Meeting Hall to be extended, according to the group workers.

The council is keen to shut the facility, with a potential saving of over £30,000 a year.

Coun Bob Gettings told a meeting of about 40 people, that the situation was “difficult”.

“We have to try to find a way forward,” he said. “Every group that uses this building should be able to continue to function and nothing less is acceptable.”

Coun Robert Finnigan said: “It is a building that is dear to everybody’s hearts but we do have an opportunity to make sure that the community hall is improved and that it can better serve the community.”

An informal vote was taken with the majority backing the proposal, although some complained that they felt they had “no other choice.”

Jenny Morris, 68, a recently retired group leader for the Girl Guides, said: “If we go down there (to Gildersome Meeting Hall), it wants a lot of money spending on it. Issues like parking haven’t been thought through yet either.”

Marie Wootton, 43, who has two young boys attending the Cubs group in the centre, said: “I’ve lived in Gildersome all my life and used to come here when I was a little girl.

“It is a shame but I understand it does cost a lot and if it can’t be maintained then this is probably the best way forward.”

Jo Hilton, 35, who has been leading the Girl Guides for three years, said: “In principle I’m OK with the move but it is a shame that the building’s beyond repair now.

“The move could benefit the community if the new building is fit for purpose. There are a lot of unanswered questions at the moment. We have quite a lot of requirements as far as space is concerned.”

Should the proposal be formally signed off, extension plans will then be considered.