Residents of Clayton West, Kirklees, are fighting to save a Grade 2 listed, former Baptist Chapel from developers.
Residents want to save it from development and transform it into a thriving community centre.
Ernest Bedford was the last Minister who led worship there. When he retired in the early 1980s, it was used by a youth group in the 1990s. More recently it was used by the Scissett Stagedoor theatre group.
Now, the building finds itself sad and neglected and in dire need of some love and attention.
The Bedford family hold the property in trust. Unfortunately, they decided they can no longer look after the Chapel and have put the property on the open market. The community have a one-off chance of securing a community space in the heart of the village.
“A one-off opportunity”
A small group of residents decided to take on the developers by securing the property as a registered community asset.
Next, they registered as a guarantee company and have applied for numerous grants. However, the community only has until mid-October to raise the money needed, and time is ticking.
Merewyn Sayers, who has been driving the project, commented, “This is an exciting one-off opportunity. We have great plans for how the Chapel could be used and it would be an ideal place where all members of the community could come together. Post-COVID it’s even more important for people to have the opportunity to reconnect.”
Merewyn added, “We have had a pretty big wish list of activities that people want to have available if we can get the Centre open, ranging from mother and toddler sessions, youth groups, book exchanges, coffee mornings, film nights and acting and mentoring sessions. Really the options are endless, but the main objective is that anyone will be able to use it if they want to.”
“Bring the village together.”
Carol, who moved to the village nearly 50 years ago and is backing the initiative, said, “We have always taken an active part in village life, as have our children when they were growing up. There have always been clubs and societies that cater for all ages in the village, but what is sadly lacking is a community centre, a place to bring the village together.”
The village Mother and Toddler Group have also struggled to find a suitable place to meet since the URC church closed and was converted to flats. A spokesperson said, “[A] designated community building with support for local groups such as ours would make the world of difference. ”
How to support the Clayton West Community Hub:
The community hub is also to work with local businesses and other groups who can support their efforts.