THREE groups in Keighley are tonight set to be awarded at least £25,000 each to employ community workers.

Keighley Town Council will decide whether to approve grants to the volunteer-run groups as part of its £100,000 lifeline for local community development workers.

The groups, based in central Keighley, Bracken Bank and Highfield, would share the town between them to ensure every neighbourhood received support.

The grants – already approved by the town council’s Community Development sub-committee– could see popular workers Pip Gibson and Jo Horrox retain their jobs.

Over the past few years the pair have supported residents in areas like Bracken Bank, Braithwaite, Knowle Park, Eastwood and Oakworth, helping set up dozens of community groups and projects.

The pair were threatened with redundancy this spring when cash-strapped Bradford Council pulled its funding.

The town council stepped in with a new £100,000 annual fund – almost £40,000 more than Bradford provided – to ensure the whole town would receive support in future.

The council could not employ Pip and Jo directly or simply hand money over to their existing employers, Bracken Bank & District Community Association and Keighley & Ilkley Voluntary & Community Action (KIVCA).

Instead the two groups had to apply for cash along with any other local organisation that believed it could provide similar community development work.

After receiving several applications the sub-committee has shortlisted three groups for funding -- KIVCA (£25,000), the Bracken Bank group (£30,000) and Highfield Community Association (£25,000).

Between them the groups will carry out 80 hours of community work each week in the town council’s area – Keighley West, East and Central wards and Oakworth.

The sub-committee has also recommended a £10,000 grant to support the work of Dementia Friendly Keighley and a £10,000 boost for the town council’s grants and sponsorship budget.

Sub-committee chairman councillor Gary Pedley said the proposed arrangement was “certainly the best deal” for Keighley.

He added: “Our main insistence was that we wanted all areas of Keighley to have full coverage, not just where the groups were based.

“KIVCA and the Bracken Bank association have proven track records, while Highfield Community Association had carried out impressive work in the community.

“These three were the stronger applicants and showed a willingness to deliver good generic multi-neighbourhood community work.

“Other applications were for specific projects or activities. One was even for work outside our parish.”