New chapter for lifeline Leeds community centre after £1m Lottery windfall

An 
artist's impression of the planned new building.
An artist's impression of the planned new building.
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Staff and service users at a popular community centre which won a £1 million lottery grant are moving into a temporary new home as a 10-month re-building project begins.

Beeston Village Community Centre currently operates from St Anthony’s Drive, and is used by hundreds of locals every week for a variety of classes and sessions including fitness, advice sessions, language classes and more.

11 July 2017. Picture James Hardisty. 
Beeston Village Community Centre, off St Anthony's Drive, Beeston, Leeds, has been awarded� 1 million from the Lottery grant to rebuild the centre. Pictured are users, volunteers and staff celebrating the announcement.

11 July 2017. Picture James Hardisty. Beeston Village Community Centre, off St Anthony's Drive, Beeston, Leeds, has been awarded� 1 million from the Lottery grant to rebuild the centre. Pictured are users, volunteers and staff celebrating the announcement.

Opened almost a decade ago as a community centre, it is operated by the Health For All charity. However demand has fast outgrown the space, and it is acknowledged the building is now well past its sell by date.

Last month, the charity found out it had been successful with a Lottery funding bid which means the current building can be demolished and the centre rebuilt completely.

And yesterday, staff were busy packing up to move to temporary offices, as the building work is due to start imminently.

Lynn Bailey, from Better Action For Families (BAFF), one of the first groups to operate from the centre, said: “It means we can do more group work because it is going to be two storeys, so we will have two halls and space for a crèche.

“This has been a brilliant centre but the building is on its last legs. The ceiling’s going - we won’t have to carry buckets around with us anymore!

“The more rooms we have, the more people we can bring into the centre, and the more people in Beeston and further afield can benefit.”

Leeds City Council’s cabinet is next week expected to approve a new 50-year ground lease for the new building which will unlock the Lottery funding and secure the hub’s future for the next 50 years.

A report to the executive board says: “Health For All have been delivering valuable services from the existing building for a number of years. However the centre is now in a state of disrepair and would require significant investment to have any future lifespan.

“They now have the opportunity to redevelop the centre to significantly improve the facilities available to local residents. Approval of a 50 year ground lease will enable Health For All to unlock that investment.”

Staff, and some of the centre’s existing activities, will decant to Health For All’s other sites, including the HQ in Middleton, while the new facility is built. Call 0113 2706903.

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