Halifax's Orangebox closing date revealed as council prepares for refurbishment

The Orangebox building in Halifax
The Orangebox building in Halifax

The date for when Calderdale Council will take control of the Orangebox building in Halifax has been revealed.

Last summer the council agreed to take over Orangebox and provide £400,000 of capital funding to bring up to standard and enhance the building, at Blackledge in the town centre.

READ MORE: Bid to take over control of Orangebox will cost £400,000

Orangebox was established under the “My Place” central government scheme in 2010, with a brief of providing appropriate and purposeful formal and informal activities for young people with a focus on the teenage and young adult age range as a condition of the funding.

The centre was set up with the grant of £3.8 million, awarded in 2011, but struggled to source funding to meet running expenses, most recently until last summer being under the guardianship of the Square Chapel Trust.

Members of the council’s Corporate Asset and Facilities Management Board heard the refurbishment work is set to begin in the spring.

READ MORE: Row over plans to rejuvenate multi-million pound Orangebox youth project

Officers said: “The current position is the council taking on the facility on April 1. It will close for refurbishment.”

Refurbishment would allow youth services to function and the work was not just about moving thing around – it would be a bespoke model for youth services.

CAFM will manage the building and with aspects of the business plan out to tender, it was expected refurbishment works would be completed in the summer holidays, possibly mid-to-late August.

“It would be good to have it open in time for the summer holidays but we can’t give that commitment at the moment,” an officer said.

READ MORE: Orangebox draining resources as board looks to give up control

An internal project board for Orangebox chaired by the council’s Director of Children’s and Young People’s Services Julie Jenkins would get the building back into use.

Meanwhile the Orangebox Partnership Board is all about developing ideas for how it will be used going forward.

It is expected that in its first financial year Orangebox will run at a loss, with the situation improving slightly in year two, councillors were told.

But Orangebox should be running on a self-financing model by year three.

Updates on the situation will be given to scrutiny boards early in April.

Board chair Coun Barry Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) said a key point had been whether or not Government would allow the council to progress the project along the lines it wanted or claw back the almost £4 million investment.

“But the Government have said they are happy with what we are doing. We are planning a sustainable future for that building. It has to have a sustainable value for this community,” he said.

Coun Geraldine Carter (Con, Ryburn) asked for clarification as to whether the council or the partnership board would be operating the building.

She was advised it would be the council and the partnership board was now being called an advisory committee.