Two major grants boost Town Hall Project

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Town HallPlans to develop Hebden Bridge’s historic Town Hall complex as a centre for community life received a major boost this week, with news of two significant grants towards the project.

A generous donation of £10,000 from Hebden Bridge’s Rotary Club has been greeted with delight by members of the trustees overseeing the Town Hall project. “This represents a tremendous step forward in the work we’ve been undertaking to breathe new life into the Town Hall. We’re enormously encouraged both by the grant itself and more generally by the support which the Rotary Club locally is showing in this project,” says Karen Houghton, one of the trustees of Hebden Bridge Community Association. The grant is likely to be used to create a new full-standard catering kitchen in the building, which will enable a much wider range of events and functions to be held there.

The grant is one of a number of donations which the Rotary Club regularly makes to local good causes. “Our members work hard during the year to organise popular events like the Classic Cars weekend and the Wadsworth Boundary Walk, and this means that we are then able to put something back into the local community. We have been following with great interest the plans to bring our Town Hall into community control, and we are delighted to be able to help the venture in this way,” says Rotary Club President Richard Holborow.

A second major fillip has been the news of a £5,000 grant forthcoming from the Community Foundation for Calderdale. “The Community Foundation for Calderdale is delighted to fund such an important project. The Foundation is all about community, and so it’s a pleasure to support a project which creates a community focal point,” says Natalie Mitchell, Marketing & Development Manager for the Community Foundation. “This grant will see the much neglected Hebden Bridge Town Hall brought back to life.”

The Foundation’s grant is being earmarked for spending on new furniture, tables and chairs for the building.

Detailed negotiations with Calderdale which would see the Town Hall building transferred into community ownership are now believed to be approaching the final stages. Under the proposals, control will pass to the recently established charitable trust, Hebden Bridge Community Association. The Association has called its first AGM for Thursday October 8th at 7.30pm, and will be arranging an ‘open doors’ series of events in the building on the same day.

“This will be an important opportunity to hear the views of as many local people as possible about how we can develop the Town Hall site as a real centre for the community. The Community Association’s constitution has deliberately been drawn up to be as democratic as possible, so the AGM will also be the occasion when members will be electing the board of trustees. We have vacancies potentially for up to ten trustees, and we’re looking for a board which reflects all parts of local life,” Karen Houghton says. A total of 450 people are currently Friends of the Town Hall and members of the Association.

The Association has also been explaining why they are using the name Town Hall in preference to the term ‘Hebden Bridge council offices’. “We’ve found that, outside the town, people associate council offices with drab modern office blocks and wonder why we’re so keen about ours. More importantly, we want the Town Hall in its new incarnation to be very much more than just a place where council services are delivered,” explains Andrew Bibby, another trustee. The term ‘Town Hall’ is one which has also been used historically for the building, he adds.


Hebden Bridge Town Hall project

Town Hall Group seeks 'Friends' (April 2009)

Hebden Bridge Town Hall project: Transfer of Town Hall to community ownership one step closer (March 2009)

Hebweb News: New Charity created to manage Town Hall (Jan 2009)

Hebweb News: Government gives thumbs up to Hebden Bridge Town Hall plans (July 2008)

Hebweb News: Plans to putTown Hall once again at the heart of local life (October 2007)

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