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Big-Lottery-Fund-logoBig Lottery grant gives student-designed New Wortley Community Centre building the go-ahead

New Wortley Community Association’s dream of creating a multi-purpose new building is set to become a reality thanks to a £686,674 grant from the Big Lottery Fund and the expertise of Leeds Beckett University’s Project Office (PO).

Last year the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme awarded funding of £55,700 which got the project underway. Now with the further funding of £686,674, New Wortley Community Association’s dream to launch a brand new building for the people of New Wortley will be realised.

A special event to celebrate the Big Lottery Fund announcement will take place at the current New Wortley Community Centre at 4.30pm today (Tuesday 17 February). Staff at the Centre’s café will bake a cake depicting how the new Centre will look.

New Wortley Community Association was founded in 1982 and works to provide services and support to the people of New Wortley, one of the most deprived parts of Leeds. The Community Centre is owned by the Community Association, and is a registered charity. It was the first community owned Community Centre in Leeds.

Kimberly Frangos, who is on the Board of New Wortley Community Association, said: “This funding is brilliant news for the New Wortley area. New Wortley is only a mile from Leeds city centre, yet it has some of the worst statistics for the city in terms of crime, health and life expectancy.

“The Centre is incredibly well used, but during the community consultation for this project we discovered that about half of the people surveyed said they wouldn’t come into the Centre because they were put off by the way it looks. It has railings around the outside and it’s not the most welcoming building; we need something that puts a bit of pride back into the community and this new Centre will do that.

Maureen Ingham, a New Wortley resident, who is on the Board of the Association and is a community activist for the area, added: “I have lived in New Wortley for 44 years and became associated with Community Centre when they were planning to build the existing Centre.

“The Centre is a vital part of what continues to be a deprived and neglected area of Leeds. We work with the people of New Wortley through the Centre and we turn people’s lives around. This Big Lottery funding is a huge step in the right direction for us to continue to do the work we do and to progress towards a future where the Centre can be self-funded. It means an awful lot to the community and we could not have achieved this without the help and expertise of Leeds Beckett’s Project Office.”

A big thank you to our local councillors Jim McKenna, Alison Lowe and Alice Smart, and to Janet Harper who retired last year.