A beacon of hope - how the Threeways Centre plays such a valuable role in the community
It has been described as a beacon of hope in the community, and after exploring its myriad rooms and corridors, you can see why.
The Threeways Centre in Ovenden is based in Calderdale Council’s area of most deprivation, and among the worst deprived areas in the country.
Hence why community-based projects like Threeways are so needed.
It is the largest community asset transfer in England, and its vision is to support the regeneration of North Halifax by providing local people with workspaces, sports facilities and support with community groups.
Some of the groups currently at the centre include Securicore, a security training company, Boardstiff, who offer an ironing service, The Prince’s Trust,
Calderdale Council social services, including youth offending and family intervention teams, the Cloverleaf advocacy service, Lead The Way, an information and advice service for adults with learning disabilities, and Grow Big, who run children’s sensory play sessions.
The centre also has a fully refurbished meeting room which is available for bookings.
Half-a-dozen volunteers help maintain the grounds at the centre, while there is also a gym on site as well as allotments, which have provided herbs, fruit and vegetables for use in Trios Cafe.
Emmajayne Carter, who is chair of the centre, said: “3,000 people use the sports and fitness facilities every month. The site hosts a GP surgery, sports centre and gym, a community garden allotment, a cafe as well as office and work space for 17 small and community businesses.
“The centre generates earned income from rents and booking fees, as well as funding from Calderdale Council to deliver projects which provide volunteering opportunities for people seeking employment.
“The Centre is used by over 50 community groups and organisations a month. It currently has workspace for 10 organisations including Lead The Way and The Prince’s Trust.
“We need support from the community to attend events, visit the facilities and get involved with the day to day running of the site.
“Such a big site takes a lot of time to keep maintained and renovated, so any builders, plumbers or electricians that would like to give back to the community would be very welcomed! This is their hub, they can help shape it!”
Sarah Reid has run Trios Cafe for just over a year.
“The first year has certainly been a platform on which to develop it even further.
“I need more people to know we’re here and use it.
“Everything here is home-made and locally sourced. Our bacon is from the local farm shop, we bake our own cakes and have a different menu every week.
“People are really pleasantly surprised when they come here.
Around a dozen people attend a weekly luncheon club at the cafe designed to combat loneliness and isolation.
“It came out of Mixenden Luncheon Club, which closed down, so it’s moved here and we’ve slowly built it up,” said Sarah.
“We get about 12 people every Monday lunchtime. If you’d be interested in coming, please get in touch.
“I’d like more groups to use the space to meet, see young and old calling in for coffee and sandwiches.
“I’d like our Saturday morning breakfasts and brunches to get busier, and we also do a pop-up restaurant once a month with different themes.
“We’re an independent business, and we use local businesses, so every bit of business we get is welcome.
“Threeways needs a hub like this where people meet and interact.
“There are so many wonderful things going on here, we just want people to know what a beacon it is in the area.
“The number of volunteer hours that go into this place is amazing. And the people that volunteer are often those in need. They’re putting in because they’re getting something out of it.”
l Retired engineer Eddie Moss, who lives in Mixenden, is a trustee of The Phoenix Shed, which was recently given a £9,700 lottery grant which will fund the project for another year.
The project started in August 2015 and Eddie estimates around 50 or 60 members regularly attend the group.
“The shed is a by-product of tackling loneliness and isolation.
“Our motto is that guys talk to each other and work shoulder-to-shoulder, sharing their worries and frustrations and building up a comradeship.
“We have guys that have early on-set dementia, are bipolar, have Huntington’s disease or Parkinson’s.
“Staying Well go out into the community and find people who are isolated and recommend us.
“We have doctor’s surgeries doing social prescribing, and sending guys here rather than giving them medication.
“One guy had been house-bound for six years. He came here and was really quiet, sat down in a chair for two or three weeks just having a cup of coffee.
“Then people started talking to him and he came out of his shell, and he changed completely.
“Now he’s going to town on the bus and doing a bit of shopping.
“Transport is an issue. We can help people from the surrounding area, but if they’re coming from Brighouse or further afield, it’s more of a problem.
“I think Threeways is still in its infancy.
“There are a lot of people who don’t know what we do here.”
Geoff Hogben, 70, from Ovenden, is chairman of the Growing Together allotments as well as being a member of The Phoenix Shed.
“It’s been here three or four years, but we really could do with new members. It’s a lot of work just for the two of us to keep going.
“It’s a lovely big space. Anybody who is interested is welcome to come and use it.
“Anyone who became a member would have the code for the gate and could come at any time.
“We take things home that we grow here, but it’s nice to just here and get some peace and quiet.
“The potential is here to do so much, but we need more members.”
l Mothershare is a referral group through midwives and social workers for families in need, which was started in 2015.
It has more than 10 volunteers, and has had invaluable help from police cadets, staff at Lloyds Bank, Caravan Guard and Townsgate
Volunteer Sarah Eyers said: “It could be a mother coming out of a domestic violence situation who may not have anything for her baby.
“We can put together Moses baskets, cots, clothing, nappies.
“To fund that, once-a-month, we have a sale day to raise money to be able to buy mattresses and safety gates – things that can’t be second-hand for health and safety reasons.
“We’re very fortunate that we get a lot of brand-new clothing donated that still have tags on them, but everything else is washed and ironed.
“We have toys, clothes and shoes. The response we get with donations is amazing.”
Fellow volunteer Kim Shedden said: “There is a lot of demand, every week our referrals are going up, and all from different agencies.
“Some people will self-refer by phoning reception and saying ‘we’re in dire need, our baby’s got no food and we’ve got no money’.
“You can’t leave it knowing somebody’s living like that.
“The Threeways Centre are fantastic because if we’re not in when donations come in, people here will take them, and vice-versa.
“We all work together. And it’s affordable space, you only get so much funding, so if the rent was to go up I think we’d be struggling.”
l Lawrence Fear, 56, who lives in Ovenden, has run Greenhome for more than two years, which provides affordable appliances and furniture to people in need estimates more than 300 people have been provided with affordable goods over the last two years
“A lot of people who come to use say it’s kept them out of the clutches of organisations like Brighthouse and Perfect Home that charge excessive amounts of interest.
“We also have good relationships with the council’s social services department, who will direct families to us, Halifax Women’s Centre, who re-house ladies who have fled domestic violence, and we also work with organisations who help young people moving into their first home.
“We have arrangements with the job centre, so people come to us who need work experience.
“Threeways are really supportive with affordable rent and the labour, because guys here will help accepting deliveries.
“We all try to work together as a team, and it does some great work in the community.
“The number of people who we’ve helped is tremendous. It helped me by giving me confidence, showing me there’s more to life than the rat race, and getting something out of helping people.
“We’re giving something back. Even now, it’s very humbling when I go out and see people, and it makes me wonder how people manage sometimes.
“If we can help them to stand on their own two feet, it gives you a lot of satisfaction.”