I am a member of YAMSEN, a charity run by volunteers working with children and adults with learning disabilities and additional physical problems, through music.
YAMSEN has been running for 30+ years and is very well respected nationwide. A small part of what we do is to run three choirs for children and adults – in total they represent 200 people with a learning disability. We meet up twice a month to sing together and rehearse for concerts – the last one was in Leeds Town Hall in December. The West Park Centre was our base – great room space, grand piano, wheelchair access and lift, disabled toilet facilities, ramps to enable everyone to access the ground floor and plenty of parking for all the minibuses that transport everyone.
As a result of the centre’s closure we’re having to find venues week by week if we can, and it means we can’t plan concerts which the choirs love to work towards. Why would anyone with any sense close a building overnight without a strategy to house everyone in another or even better building?
For goodness sake, fix the electrics so we can get back in there and gradually refurbish it, and get someone in with some vision to market the building and see its potential – a fantastic community arts centre. West Park could be filled day and evening. Most people don’t want whizzy new buildings – they want spaces they can use, easy parking, access and most of all a feeling of community which we’ve lost.