Swimming Pool Plans/Mytholmroyd Community Centre
From Billy Painter
Monday, 17 January 2011
I'd like to start by saying how positive it is to see more developments in Mytholmroyd, most notably the recent renovation of the Memorial Garden and the continual development of the Mytholmroyd Town Square outside St Michael's Church. The proposed plans for Mytholmroyd Community Centre look very impressive and exciting and they will certainly offer new facilities and opportunities to the wider community. However, as somebody who uses the current facility, there are a few concerns that I would like to raise and make people aware of.
I have been a member of Mytholmroyd Scout Group for most of my life, and I consider myself extremely lucky and fortunate to have such a fantastic Scout Group locally which has offered me many opportunities and developed my personal life skills beyond no end. With this in mind, and the fact that Mytholmroyd Scout Group use the Community Centre as their base and meeting point for the activities and events that we run, the future developments will be in our best interests as we need to ensure that we function to the same high standard and ability that we have done over the many years of being based there.
When the initial building work started on Mytholmroyd Community Centre back in 1974, after the building sold to the community for a small fee, Mytholmroyd Scouts were the first users of it along with the local Youth Group. It was in fact Mytholmroyd Scouts that helped clean the old chicken muck out of the building in order to make the structure usable for community purposes. We have used the facility and called it our home for over 35 years. At present, there are over 100 young members and over 30 adult leaders involved at Mytholmroyd Scout Group, and with the group having run for over three decades the number of young people that have been through the Scouting adventure, in Mytholmroyd has been huge.
The new facilities look brilliant, in particular the swimming pool, climbing wall and gyms, however, whilst these amenities will get a dedicated 'space' in the new building, there appears to be no dedicated Scout Room, only a shared community and conference facility. This is quite simply not viable for our needs at all. The overall fabrics of such a room would not allow us to carry out the training and skills development we currently do such as pioneering, gas stove cooking and first aid training. On a practical level the type of flooring and wall finish required for young people to practice Scouting skills or simply play indoor ball games is completely different from a conference centre. We have managed with a concrete floor and simple bricks and mortar, and can continue to do so.
We also need an area capable for us to run our activities, but we also need a considerable amount of storage space to ensure that the huge amount of equipment we own is safely, securely and appropriately stored, equipment such as sailing dinghies, canoes, kayaks, pioneering poles, caving and climbing gear along and much camping gear. We also have two minibuses that have been purchased through hours of fundraising initiatives. I can only imagine how much all of our equipment is worth, but it's quite easy to tell from just listing some of it above that it's not cheap.
Not only is our room used for Beavers, Cubs, Scout, Explorers and Network meetings, it is also used for Leader Training, Duke of Edinburgh Award sessions, a base for overnight hikes, trips and expeditions, Committee Meetings alongside the many vital fundraising events we run such as the Annual Quiz Evening, 'Come Dine' evening, live music, fundraising walks and presentation evenings. It is also vital that we have the room for a few days prior to camps. Returning from camps, we need to unload and put everything away again, and with British weather being what it is, the tents need to be hung up to dry for at least two days or they will become irreparably damaged. Our current dedicated room really is a 24/7 vehicle and needs to remain this way to allow us to run in the way we currently do.
I cannot stress enough how important I feel it is to have Mytholmroyd Scout Group in the Calder Valley and based at Mytholmroyd Community Centre. What they offer to the community and the opportunity that they give to the young generation is quite simply unmatched by any other youth organisation. I have spent countless days/weekends/weeks away doing what young people seem to be doing less and less of nowadays; going out into the great outdoors and making the most of the world around us. I've met people from all around the globe at international Jamboree's, I am currently working towards completing my Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, I have learnt how to sail, cave, navigate, climb and survive in extreme conditions amongst many other pursuits that I could quite happily talk about for hours on end. Then there is the other skills that I have got from going to Mytholmroyd Scouts; communication skills, leadership, confidence and self-belief amongst several other personal qualities and attributes that I feel I would struggle to develop in other mundane environments. Giving young people the opportunity to practice such skills on their own doorstep is imperative. I hear far too many times from the media especially that, 'there's nothing for young people to do', which personally I find an extremely false statement, so why risk damaging what is already going strong in attempt to try and make something else work?
As a community resource, the new centre will need to support as much of the area as possible reaching out to many individuals, and with the Scout Group hopefully being one of the main beneficiaries I feel I should share some of the ways in which we have supported the area. We have supported a lot of groups with both manpower and equipment over the years, and when possible we will always strive to support anyone in anyway we can. We do an annual litter pick and clean up after the Hebden Bridge Bonfire early the following morning, an annual Hebden Royd Clean Up covering all of the main areas of Mytholmroyd and wherever else is suggested in the vicinity, and until two years ago we were always the team of people that cleaned up after the Mytholmroyd Gala. We also represent the group in the community too, with stalls at the Mytholmroyd Gala and the Hebden Bridge Big Green Weekend. The group has very strong connections with the Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team as we are more or less next door to each other. With this being the case, and the bulk of the Scout Group having great interest in the sort of work CVSRT do, there is a very high number of the group that have gone on to join CVSRT having come through the ranks at Mytholmroyd Scout Group, having no doubt been inspired to do so.
To conclude, what Mytholmroyd Scout Group will need in order to function in the same manner that we presently do, is a slightly bigger room than we currently have with a similar design and layout; we would also need our own storage space that is safe and secure. We currently rely heavily on the aging kitchen that we have for our fundraising events and also on meeting nights, I feel we would struggle without direct access to this along with adequate toilet facilities as well. With the big number of attendees on a Friday night, it is in no way possible to all share one room, the sizing is an issue, as is the ability to do multiple things in the same night. We would need access, like we currently have, to another room as well to split the numbers. It would also be very useful to have some additional, smaller rooms/offices in order to focus more on individual training skills and learning. I strongly think that this is possible in such a big development and that it would be extremely worthwhile making it happen for such a positive voluntary group such as Mytholmroyd Scout Group.
I hope that I have managed to raise some awareness about Mytholmroyd Scout Group and what I have personally, like many others got from them. I would like to urge the relevant people to take notice and really consider the best way forward to support our group of people like we have supported the Community Centre and the area over the years.
From Cath Hunter
Monday, 17 January 2011
As a regular swimmer who lives in Mytholmroyd I am delighted to hear we will be having a local pool and think it will be good for the local community.
From Jean Fleming
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
With such a thriving Scout group it would be a great pity if their needs were not catered for by providing better facilities than a shared room.
From James Baker
Friday, 21 January 2011
Hi Billy, Have you spoken to Jade Smith who was involved in the memorial garden? I know she takes a keen interest in what goes on the Community Centre. I'm seeing her next week so I can mention it to her as well. It would seem a shame if the Scout group doesn't benefit from the new plans for the centre, seeing as it provides such a great opportunity for our local youngsters.
From Billy Painter
Friday, 21 January 2011
Hi James, I haven't spoken to Jade Smith about my concerns. I would be most grateful if you could pass them on, feel free to give her my email address too.
From Sutti H
Monday, 24 January 2011
May I first congratulate you Billy for your dedication for the scouts, I have always thought we need to invest time in our youth, it's worth every minute.
There needs to be alot of thought put into a building before it is built. How many times do you hear someone comment about the room is ok but we really need this or that?
Surley a big multi purpose room with a number of dedicated rooms for various organisations to store equipment/office space/meeting room etc is the way to go.
Organisation could use a room at a church or maybe a school at a push but there needs to be a long term multi use approach well before the first concrete is poured, so the building is used to it's full potential.
From Billy Painter
Thursday, 27 January 2011
I agree wholeheartedly Sutti.
It's imperative that we invest time, effort and money in the youth of today. I am not exactly sure what the budget is for the new Community Centre, but looking at some of the extravagant ideas and designs I feel that there is certainly enough money in the pot to support the organisations that are already there as well as new additions. The current users who use the facility should be taken into account first and be a foundation for future developments to be built upon. Perhaps the developers could even ask the current users what they feel may be attractive to other friends/ family members who, at present, don't have a use for the facility...
A local school or Church would not be suffice, and isn't a solution.
From Rosey G
Monday, 7 February 2011
Hi Billy, you sound to be doing a brilliant job with the youth. Until I read your post I didn't even realise that the scouts were still going. If the community centre is being re-built to accommodate a swimming pool(brilliant news for the calder valley) gym etc it is a must to accommodate space for the existing users etc. You must continue to campaign for the space required. Have you contacted Richard Marshall re this situation? He was a founder member of the Mytholmroyd Community Centre and is a Calderdale Councillor. He is also a local resident of Mytholmroyd.
All the best for the future and keep up the good work Billy.