‘Dying’ Leeds community centre faces real threat of closure

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A community centre could be set to close, after serving residents for three decades.

The Brackenwood centre in Gledhow, which was opened in the 1980s, is used most days of the week by organisations offering a range of activities and clubs for people in the area.

The residents' hub had more than 100 members but this year that figure is down to 29, according to the committee.

Slimming World has used the centre on Lidgett Lane to run weight-loss classes for more than ten years.

Clare Creffield, 32, of Crossgates, thinks it would be "heartbreaking" to see the centre close.

Mrs Creffield, who organises the slimming classes, said: "It would be such a big loss for the area, it's invaluable.

“The staff are amazing but the place has seen better days."

The centre runs a weekly Bingo night which has remained popular with the elderly members of the area.

She added: "There are elderly residents in Brackenwood that use it and they need it.

“I can't think of anywhere else they could go.

“It's vital for the community.

“For some of them that might be the only adult conversation they have in the week."

Several committee members have left over the past year due to age, ill health or moving out of the area.

Carmel Bolton, chairperson of the committee, runs a 
fortnightly Luncheon club and believes that "community centres are dying" due to a lack of interest from Brackenwood residents.

She said: "We just can't get the members anymore.

“It's not just us, it's community centres in general I think.

“They're not 'up-and-coming' anymore, they need a re-brand - a new name or something."

Mrs Bolton hopes to find new members to help run the self-sufficient centre but she warned they may be forced to hand the premises over to another committee if the situation doesn't improve soon.

She added: "Our luncheon club is run on the first and third Monday of the month.

“I've been running it for six years now and it's basically a two-course meal for £2.50.

“We have about 26 people who attend each fortnight and everyone who comes really enjoys it."

The centre also organises a youth club which runs fortnightly, which Mrs Bolton says was once full but is now "struggling for members."

NHS organisation Care-Connect, which works closely with the University of Leeds, also run classes at the Brackenwood facility every Thursday.

The group provides social care information to Brackenwood residents.


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