Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WONEWS to 80360, or email
Council learning centres to become charitable trust
Two outdoor learning centres run by Bradford Council will soon become a charitable trust.
Buckden House in Upper Wharfedale and Ingleborough Hall in Clapham are learning centres which are used by schools in the Bradford district for residential stays and day trips.
Earlier this year the Council announced an investment of £1 million to upgrade facilities at three centres, these two and Nell Bank in Ilkley, formally run by the council but now also a charitable trust.
It was part of a bid to attract more visitors, as the centres have seen numbers decline in recent years. In the 2011/12 occupancy rates were as low as 50 per cent at Buckden House.
And now the Council has announced that the two centres will soon follow the model of Nell Bank and become a trust, able to raise their own funds and run themselves.
At a meeting next month, councillors will discuss the disposal of the properties and the formation of the trust.
Councillor Ralph Berry, the executive member for education, said the move would ensure the centres’ future while reducing Council costs.
He said: “This will mean the centres are owned by the schools – they will be able to take charge of their own destiny.
“At a time when funding is increasingly difficult to find, it makes sense for these centres to run themselves. We are safeguarding the future of these centres and not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
“It is a good example of doing something differently and still getting good results.
“The centres will know how to run themselves best, and make themselves self sustainable. It will also create a better platform for them to make bids and other sources of funding.”
The £1 million Council funding includes £400,000 for facilities at Ingleborough Hall, £200,000 for Buckden House and £400,000 at Nell Bank.
Also included will be upgraded staff accommodation, individual showers and better ICT facilities.
The hope is that once the centres are improved they will be able to attract more visitors.
Buckden House is a converted Manor House that has been running as an activity centre for more than 30 years. Activities include rock climbing, caving and orienteering.
Ingleborough Hall dates back to the 1840s which offers similar outdoor activities. Both are grade II listed buildings.
The improvement works at the centres are ongoing.