Youth centre to get £35,000 to keep its doors open

Howard Blagbrough
Howard Blagbrough

A budget amendment put forward by the Labour group to inject £35,000 into the Orangebox youth centre was given unanimous backing by the council.

The centre in Halifax town centre, which opened in 2013, has recently appointed a new director and is struggling financially to keep its doors open.

Coun Megan Swift (Lab, Town) told the meeting: “What they are planning on doing is closing the doors most of the time - where there is open access at the Orangebox at the moment, they are talking about perhaps opening for two nights during the week and on Saturdays.

“I don’t think when we talk about the Orangebox that’s what we want from it - I asked the new director what we need to give to keep the doors open,” she said.

“The Orangebox was supposed to be a standalone charity from this April, but unfortunately they’re nowhere near ready, so that has been put off until April 2016.”

Although the amendment was given cross-party backing, Coun Howard Blagbrough (Con, Brighouse) told the meeting: “I’d like to support this amendment, but I would suggest that the matter is taken to scrutiny to be discussed further.”

Coun Janet Battye (Lib Dem, Calder), leader of the Liberal Democrat group, agreed with Coun Blagbrough.

She said: “I’m disappointed that it has come to this. I think it’s important that the council supports it, but there must be no expectation that because we sign one cheque for £35,000 that next week there will be another and before we know where we are we’re into long-term subsidy with virtually a blank cheque.

“I think we should wish them well, but we should ask that their business plan to come to scrutiny as soon as it can,” she said.