Major renovation work begins at Denholme Mechanics Institute

Peter Foster, chairman of Denholme Community Association, at the town's Mechanics' Institute, which is being refurbished (8114523)

Peter Foster, chairman of Denholme Community Association, at the town's Mechanics' Institute, which is being refurbished (8114521)

Peter Foster, chairman of Denholme Community Association, at the town's Mechanics' Institute, which is being refurbished (8114508)

Peter Foster, chairman of Denholme Community Association, at the town's Mechanics' Institute, which is being refurbished (8114499)

Peter Foster, chairman of Denholme Community Association, at the town's Mechanics' Institute, which is being refurbished (8114497)

Peter Foster, chairman of Denholme Community Association, at the town's Mechanics' Institute, which is being refurbished (8114494)

First published in Keighley

A £100,000 refurbishment of key parts of Denholme Mechanics Institute has begun.

The project, which is expected to take 10 to 12 weeks to complete, has been made possible through grants, donations and a fundraising campaign co-ordinated by Denholme Community Association.

Association chairman, Peter Foster, said contributions included a large grant from the WREN environmental fund, as well as financial support from Banks Renewables and Bradford Council.

He also thanked individuals and groups in Denholme who had donated various sums to enable the project to go ahead.

"We first applied to WREN in July 2012 and were unsuccessful," he said. "But they said if we could collect a certain amount ourselves they would reconsider a new application.

"We applied again in July last year and we got the money from WREN in December. This was nearly half of the full cost of the work."

The institute building, which is in Main Street, is owned by Bradford Council and was built in 1880.

The property's well-used Blue Room is receiving much of the new investment. The room's existing fixed seating is being removed to create more usable space.

It will also get a new heating system, replacement double glazed windows and a suspended ceiling to help retain heat.

The adjacent kitchen is to be completely modernised and a serving hatch will be created between the kitchen and the Blue Room.

Mr Foster said part of the work would also make the building more accessible for people with disabilities.

A wheelchair access ramp will be built along the side of the Blue Room and a new door installed to allow wheelchairs to get in and out of the Blue Room and ground floor.

The caretaker’s office and adjacent corridor will be converted into a purpose-built disabled toilet with access from the main corridor.

Mr Foster stressed that although the Blue Room and kitchen will be cordoned off while the work is carried out, all the other rooms in the building, including the toilets, will remain open and available.

"We hope many groups, families, friends and individuals in the village will try out the new facilities, and will see for themselves the full benefits of the improvements," he said.

Bingley rural ward councillor Michael Ellis praised the efforts of all those responsible for drumming up the necessary funding.

"They've had some knock-backs, but they've still managed to raise this huge amount," he said. "They've done a superb job."

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