Monday, 21 January 2013

Desperately seeking venue

Dear Leeds

Who can provide a venue as good as West for this choir for children with learning difficulties and more  from all round Yorkshire? See letter from Sue, below:

-- I am a committee member of YAMSEN who were based at West Park. I'm finding it difficult to find a venue for our childrens choirs to meet for their monthly rehearsals. We have used St Chads Parish Centre but they have regular committments as do other churches in the area. The choirs recently sang at the Annual Lord Mayors Carol Concert in Leeds Town Hall but now have no venue to rehearse for other concerts throughout the year. The children all have learning difficulties and for them to perform and have fun through singing together means a lot more than some people can imagine. So, I'd like your help please --- a venue around West Park with mini bus parking for 6 buses --- wheelchair access and disabled toilet facilities --- Tuesday mornings, twice a month, 9-30 -- 12- 30
We had these facilities at West Park and more but whilst the council is making up it's mind what to do with the Centre I'd appreciate a venue for One Accord and Young Accord --- our choirs. I look forward to hearing from you --- Sue Tomassi --- 

' Every child matters'

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Inner-North West

The West Park Centre was Item Ten on the local Council Meeting at the Cardigan Centre.  Me, Doug, Douglas, Janet and Ken went from the West Park Refugees Club. A few refugees who had hoped to come sent their apologies. A C and N C were there from Asset Management, presenting the report on the centre that the councillors had asked them [at previous meeting of 24 November] to prepare for this meeting.

Summarising the main points of this meeting: The councillors were generally disappointed in the thinness of the report. This was a two sides of paper including few pictures of decaying electrics in black and white with not too many pixels. They felt that they had given Asset Management enough time to give a few more facts eg about how many organisations used the centre, where they were now, how they were all now all storing their equipment and costumes, and keeping their activities going.

Doug, Ken, Janet and I spoke from the point of view of the West Park Residents' Association. The points we raised:

1. formal objection to the manner of the closure - most users came into work/community activitiy on Monday morning [5 November], told to pack up and leave.

2. that centre-users had been warned about the electrics forever [Cllr Atha said that he had in writing an opinion that the electrician was sent to close the centre], and nobody believed that anyone else believed that suddenly we were all about to be electrocuted.

3.  that the value of the centre was not properly appreciated, either the fabulous storage space, nor the great synergy of such diverse organisations as Musial Ark and Opera North rubbing shoulders together.

4. The effect on the users, not just on their ability to make a living [as jobs], or make a difference [the charities], but also on their mental health. Worst hit, by general agreement was Carole J, keeper of the Kiosk, who had over the years put her life into feeding the centre-users, and 90% of whose main income was from the council training courses. With the centre and her customers dispersed, there is no livelihood, and there is no income, and really no life.

5. We were very concerned that the building was "winter-proofed", especially since some of us have watched as Assett Management have stood by and let the weather finish off what Education Leeds started with the Royal Park building.

6. needed to remind the council that the West Park Centre refugees were either stuggling or failing to manage properly in their temporary homes, and in fact some of us haven't even got as far as having a temporary home.

7. there should have been contingency plans in place for this totally expected closure.

Orchestras used to play at West Park
The councillors asked that the bare minimum should now be put into the West Park Centre to get it back into operation.