Question raised over closure of Mixenden Activity Centre and future for the site
The loss of a youth activity centre and what might replace it in the community were discussed at a Zoom meeting.
The meeting included people unhappy at the closure of Mixenden Activity Centre in Halifax following a decision made by Calderdale Council’s Cabinet and its effective ratification when the authority’s budget for 2021-22 was approved, in February.
A number of questions were raised including an assertion that the centre made an annual profit of around £30,000 – but Cabinet had been told it would need additional funding of around £200,000 to keep it going with questioners still feeling this had not been adequately explained, it is understood.
The council has not commented on that specific issue.
Documents provided to Cabinet reference removal of an £80,000 budget from the council’s Young People’s Services due to restructuring, with reduction in income due to COVID-19 pushing this to £209,000.
Others upset at the decision to close the centre, including those signing a Save Mixenden Activity Centre petition started on change.org by Steve Regan, say its loss leaves a gap in services for young people in the area which cannot be easily filled.
The petition – which can be reached at https://www.change.org/p/calderdale-council-save-mixenden-activity-centre-keep-it-in-council-ownership-keep-it-for-the-community – now has more than 1,000 signatures and will be debated by the council’s Place Scrutiny Board later this month – it is due to meet in virtual form via the council’s Youtube channel on Thursday, March 25 (6pm).
At its last meeting the board felt the petition should be discussed as it had shown the issue was important to people, although the decision had been taken over its future.
Cabinet chose to close the site and examine alternative uses for the site.
One person upset at the decision, contacting local media, said the decision to close the centre had left children high and dry, particularly those who had issues including ASD, speech and self-harming who had found somewhere safe, with staff trained to recognise their needs.
But the council’s Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) said it was understood what the centre meant to people and options to fill the gap were being explored.
“We know how valuable Mixenden Activity Centre is to local people.
“We are working with our partner organisations and ward councillors to secure a positive future for the building as a community facility.
“At the positive public meeting in February where options were discussed, I was pleased to hear residents talking passionately about their desire to see the building used as a community hub, providing access to activities for local people.
“We will use this feedback to inform plans for the centre’s future and will share plans with residents as we progress,” she said.