Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Irreplaceable West Park Centre.

West Park Centre
Time marches on and it is now half a year since West Park Centre was ‘temporarily’ closed overnight – with no warning to the many organisations and groups using the premises.
another Greggs' donation to YAMSEN:SM

West Park Centre has been the heart of Yorkshire Association for Music and Special Educational Needs (YAMSEN) for the past 16 years.  Children and adults arrived there for all the regular specialised activities, educational and social, and came to depend on the Centre’s friendly and supportive atmosphere, where they were made to feel welcome, accepted and at ease.

As a charity, so many of our Special Needs activities rely heavily on our local team of invaluable volunteers, without whose willing support our many music activities could not be run.  Most of our volunteers and ‘customers’ would not be able to travel to other areas of the city so easily. West Park Centre is ideally located,  being close to the Ring Road and with ample parking facilities.  It is convenient for the mini-buses transporting our groups.

100% of our YAMSEN of our musical instruments, equipment and materials were hastily ‘temporarily’ relocated in early November 2012 to different storage facilities where they cannot be readily accessed, limiting the scope and range of our ‘temporarily’ re-located activities.

As the grandparent of a boy with Autistic Spectrum Disorder I’m very aware of the adverse effect of the sudden and unexpected disruption to a settled and accepted routine. Fortunately, my grandson lives in Newcastle where the facilities for such children are excellent – there the Tim Lamb Centre at the Rising Sun Park is run by volunteers. Certainly the ‘closure’ of West Park Centre caused considerable distress to several members of ‘Off by Heart’, our choir for adults with special needs, which had practised fortnightly there for the past 14 years.
yes, it's a music library, nowhere useful now

One would like to believe that most Councils make sensible decisions. However in such a case of the West Park Centre, the Leeds Council are failing the people of Leeds. It is people not buildings that matter. If ever the Council set out to provide a Centre such as the one at West Park, they would be hard-pressed to choose anywhere else in Leeds where 2000/3000 people would be able to attend each week. The majority of 2000/3000 adults and children using the Centre appreciate its internal layout and would want the current building made safe and watertight – not new, modern and expensive.

Please spend tax payers’ money wisely, as if that money were your own.

Anne Gilliam 

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