Save Salem Community Centre

Saturday, July 3, 2004

In spite of the bad weather, demonstrators turned today out to protest at the proposed closure of Salem Community Centre. Other community assets we have lost recently include Youth House (closed down), the Tourist Information Centre (sold off) and the Central Street Pool (closed down).

Saving Salem

The Ground Floor Project is under threat from Calderdale who propose to severely cut our funding from next April. This would lead to the closure of the project and make the 60 plus user groups that use Salem Community Centre homeless.

For more information as to how you can help, contact: The Ground Floor Project, Salem Community Centre Tel: 01422-844991 or email:

Saving Salem

Saving Salem

Saving Salem

The following is from the Save our Salem campaign

Funding History

The Ground Floor Project was established in 1981 and was initially funded by MSC (Manpower Services) to provide employment training for unemployed young people. As it became established it expanded to provide additional services for all local, disadvantaged people including establishing the Hebden Bridge Youth Club.

in 1988 Calderdale MBC Fair Shares Department agreed to fund the Ground Floor Project and allocated £11,380 per year (the same amount still being provided in 2004) and employed five full-time workers to run the Ground Floor Project.

However, as employees moved on these posts were not refunded and eventually they were consolidated into a single full-time community resource manager and a part-time administrator. When Fair Shares ended, the project's funding was transferred to what was then Youth and Community Section and in lieu of increased funding staff was allocated from the youth side to staff the youth club.

Use of the Community Centre

In 2003/4 the building was used 46,634 times and was open Monday to Sunday, 50 weeks a year. To cater for the 57 regular groups that used us during that time, the three halls, café and office spaces were in use from 7.3Oam until 10pm Monday to Friday. In total 132 volunteers support these groups and 32 people are employed through the various schemes set up by the Ground Floor Project, none of whom are funded by Calderdale MBC.

Out of that figure the Youth Club accounted for a total of 70 users under the age of 26 who used the facilities 1,464 times.

In comparison the other groups accounted for 320 users in total in the same age range who used the facilities a total of 36,485 times.

What Benefit is the Ground Floor Project?

As well as providing accommodation for over 60 local user groups covering the entire spectrum of the community, employing 32 local people and bringing in at least a hundred thousand pounds in resources every year into Calderdale through its many projects, the Ground Floor Project has helped establish a number of community resources, including ALL four out of school clubs in Hebden Bridge and supported the formation of many others, established the first kerbside recycling in Calderdale, setting up Pennine Magpie and the Scrapstore and supported the establishment of the Hebden Bridge Alternative Technology Centre, the Calder Valley Credit Union (now part of the Calderdale Credit Union) and historically has put Hebden Bridge and Calderdale on the map by-creating the first community cyber café in the UK, later setting up the café as a training project for young adults with learning disabilities, supporting the development of aiffordable housing co-operatives (Zion Co-op), establishing the UK's first alternative local currency, setting up a battery farm to use solar power to recharge domestic household batteries for reuse, making Hebden bridge the first town in the UK to be able to provide comprehensive out of school childcare, providing the countries' first carshare scheme to use alternative fuels,
The Current Situation

Over the last few years the section of Calderdale funding the Ground Floor Project has gone through a number of departmental changes and priorities -first it metamorphosed into Community Education and incorporated Adult Education provision, later when Adult Education moved out, the department became the Youth Section and its priorities again changed to focus almost exclusively on provision for 13 to 19 year olds. However, no option was given for groups with wider priorities to have their funding transferred to other departments and when last year WE approached the head of the Youth section to discuss moving our funding to a more appropriate department, we were told to wait as no decision could be made at that time.

In 2004 a Scrutiny Report stated that Ground Floor Project, which by default was still being funded out of the Youth Service budget, was not providing value for money for young people aged 13 to 19. The Ground Floor Project was not consulted beforehand nor was the committee allowed any input into the final document.


What is proposed is that while this year's funding will remain and user groups can continue to use Salem Community Centre until next April, with effect from 2005 our funding and staff time will be reduced by a third and by the same amount the following year. This will lead to the closure of the Ground Floor Project and Salem Community Centre and make our 60 plus user groups homeless.

The situation is critical and we need the people of Hebden Bridge to act now to make Councillors aware that this would devastate Hebden Bridge.

Please give your support to fight the cuts and save the Project by demanding the transfer of existing funding to a more appropriate department.

To help

Write to Calderdale MBC and your local Councillors care of:

The Ground Floor Project
Salem Community Centre,
Central Street,
Hebden Bridge,

And we will make sure your letters reach the appropriate people or alternatively support the Save Our Salem campaign by writing to the Hebden Bridge Times and Evening Courier and make your feelings felt.

Saving Salem

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