Councillor in pledge to keep Keighley community centre open

Councillor in pledge to keep Keighley community centre open

Councillor Doreen Lee

Councillor Doreen Lee

Sonia Evers

Sonia Evers

First published in News by

A KEIGHLEY ward councillor says she is determined to help ensure a local community centre remains open, despite the imminent departure of its paid worker.

Councillor Doreen Lee confirmed that Hainworth Wood Centre development worker Sonia Evers is leaving, because the funding to pay for her role has run out.

Ms Evers took up her post at the centre in August 2012, after many years of working in the voluntary sector in Leeds.

When she began she announced a revitalised programme of activities, saying she wanted the community to make use of a thriving facility.

Coun Lee, who represents Keighley East and is also a non-voting member of the centre's management committee, said: "Sonia has been really good for the centre, and I'm very, very sorry to lose her.

"The funding for her post was only on a temporary basis, and now it has come to an end.

"It is vital that we keep the centre open. It is needed and it's a lifeline for the people of this area, because there's nothing else like it here."

Coun Lee said that once Ms Evers has left, a team of volunteers should be able to keep the premises running.

"We have some very good members of the community here, and we'll be keeping the centre open on a wing and a prayer," she added.

"In the past we've used bits of money from different sources, including the Youth Service, the DART Club and our own councillors' ward fund.

"The building is owned by Incommunities and is in need of refurbishment, but Incommunities are going to be doing that work."

The premises currently hosts a range of activities, including a dining and recreation group for older people, adult health and wellbeing sessions, play sessions for children, and bingo.

Coun Lee said she would ultimately like to see Keighley East Ward have its own paid council co-ordinator, based out of the centre.

"We're the only ward in Keighley which doesn't have its own co-ordinator, and that's been the case for many years," she said.

"We're trying to get some of the money due to be devolved to the area committees next year spent on bringing in a co-ordinator for Keighley East. So we hope we can have someone in place by next April."

The Keighley News was unable to contact Sonia Evers for comment. The paper also asked Bradford Council for comment this week, but no one had responded by the time the paper went to print.

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