UPDATE: Calderdale Libraries

Calderdale Council have released details of their plans for the area’s libraries, in a press release on 22 August.

Almost £2m of investment in our libraries will be announced alongside plans to change service delivery in partnership with local communities at Calderdale Council’s Cabinet meeting on Monday 2 September.

Elland Library is set to be refurbished and transformed at a cost of £1.5m into a community hub providing a range of services. Essential roof repairs costing £240,000 will be carried out at Todmorden Library following structural work earlier this year, and in late 2019 work is set to begin on a new library in Mixenden next to a new GP surgery, pharmacy and shops  to improve services for children, young people and families in the area.

There are also plans to improve accessibility and refurbish the gardens at Rastrick Library in partnership with the Friends of Rastrick Library, with a possible relocation of Mytholmroyd Library into the newly renovated station building to provide modern facilities and extend opening hours.

The Council’s recent review of all libraries identified a number of buildings in a severe state of disrepair due to age or vandalism. In these cases the Council has been working closely with Ward Councillors, community groups and local businesses to look at new ways of delivering services in an alternative location.

However, several smaller community libraries remain at risk unless community-led solutions can be found. Cllr Susan Press, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, said:

“Across the country councils have had to drastically reduce their library services, but unlike many local authorities we have continued to invest in them because we know how much they matter to communities.

“Our long-term commitment to our libraries continues and we are proud of the investments we have been able to make, including the opening of our flagship Central Library two years ago. However, it is getting harder and harder to provide a service in every location because of the financial pressures caused by austerity.

“This year, for example, we had to reduce our book fund by £50,000 to balance the budget and the reality is that some of our buildings are just not fit for purpose any longer.”

The list of libraries where the Council is seeking to work in partnership with the community includes Beechwood Road in Illingworth, which is in a bad state of repair and attracts persistent vandalism. The Council is due to meet with local people and Ward Councillors to consider options for alternative service delivery.

Bailiff Bridge Library closed in February 2019 due to serious structural deterioration of the roof and it would cost an estimated £310,000 to bring the building up to standard. The Council has been working with the Community Association to try to identify another suitable building in the area, but unfortunately an alternative has not been found so far.

The severe state of disrepair at the prefabricated Walsden Library building means substantial investment would be needed to maintain it and keep it safe for the future. In the past two years Council staff have held a series of discussions with local community organisations, schools and businesses but an alternative location is yet to be found. Calderdale Council will continue to work with Ward Councillors, Todmorden Town Councillors and local organisations and businesses – however if a solution has not been found in the next three months the building will have to close.

Cllr Press added:

“Our officers have worked tirelessly to try and find solutions to all these issues, as we promised we would when our libraries review began; however it has not been possible in every area. So we are appealing to local communities across Calderdale to help us relocate and deliver services in alternative locations that enable us to continue to provide the modern services that our residents deserve.”

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SOCIAL: Cornerstone Memory Cafe

Cornerstone Memory Cafe is a support group for dementia sufferers and their carers run by volunteers from church in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Society.

If you know someone who would benefit from this outreach, the friendly drop in cafe is held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, 2-4pm upstairs in Brighouse Civic Hall. A warm welcome and homemade cake are guaranteed!

EVENT: Healthy Minds

Explore Wellness with Healthy Minds in Brighouse

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Healthy Minds invites you to explore what wellness means to you using images, collage making and discussion.

On Thursday 10 October 2019, 11am – 1pm at Brighouse Library.

The workshop is FREE though booking is essential.

Refreshments and nibbles provided.

For further details, and/or to book your place, please call 01422 345154 or email info@healthymindscalderdale.co.uk

EVENT: History Walk

Calderdale Heritage Walk: Cliffe Hill – The Walkers (and others)

Sunday 15th Sep 2019 – Meet John Brooke at 2.15 p.m. by the Sun Inn on Wakefield Road (A649) in Lightcliffe, HX3 8TH

Looking at a fine residence of yester-year associated with Ann Walker and Anne Lister, which is normally out of sight within its private grounds. We’ll look at the house exterior, its grounds and immediate environs.

For further information and more walks visit http://www.calderdaleheritagewalks.org.uk

UNIVERSAL CREDIT: Advice Service

Citizens Advice Calderdale has launched a service called ‘Help to Claim’ for those who need to apply for Universal Credit in Calderdale.

They are working in collaboration with the Citizens Advice Network and more locally with Calderdale Council and Job Centre Plus (Calderdale) to support people in submitting their Universal credit application to get their first full payment.

Help will be tailored to the individual and be available; face to face, over the phone (0800 144 8444) and online through webchat and advice content (www.citizensadvice.org.uk). This may include assistance with the online application form or help with providing evidence like childcare costs.

The main drop-in has now moved to Customer First so that they can work with the existing Council team to help people start a claim and get ready for their work coach appointment. They will be there Monday to Friday, 10:00am-1:00pm for clients needing help with making a claim and generalist advice needs.

Just as a reminder, they continue to offer bespoke debt advice via their team of specialist debt caseworkers, who help people manage problem debt and the Improving Lives team who help clients make appeals in relation to ESA, PIP and DLA.

WINTER: Free Home Energy Visits

Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees FREE Home Energy Visits – their visits aim to reduce people’s energy bills whilst keeping them warm and well at home by offering:

  • Practical advice about keeping warm
  • Information about winter benefits
  • Advice about smarter use of energy
  • Referral to other useful services if needed
  • Installation of free energy saving devices such as draught excluders,  radiator  panels, timers and cold alarms
  • Installation of free energy saving light bulbs

And best of all, it is all FREE!

Home Visits

Age UK is working with E.ON and First Utility to provide Home Energy Visits. The aim of the visit is to deliver practical energy efficiency information and expert advice to older people. The project will enable people to change energy use behaviour and benefit from small practical measures which could potentially reduce their energy bills whilst remaining warm and well in their own homes.

How do I get a free home visit?

To qualify for the Home Energy visit you must be :

  • Over 65 and on low income (below £16,190 p.a )and /or
  • Over 65 and living with a disability or other medical condition
  • Over 65 and living in a hard to heat property.

For more information or to book your home energy check, please contact them on 01422 252040 / 01484 535994

SURVEY: Public Services

The House of Commons Treasury Committee is holding an inquiry into regional imbalances in the UK economy and wants to know how the region you live in impacts your access to services.
Share your views on their online survey and help inform their inquiry into regional imbalances.

As well as exploring where the most significant regional imbalances exist (i.e between the South East and other regions), it will also examine how these imbalances present themselves in the UK, how these imbalances have changed in the last decade and how they are likely to change in the future.

How can you help? 
Complete their anonymous online survey and tell them about the public services in your local area. The survey will include questions about:

  • How clean and safe you feel your local area is
  • Whether your local area has good employment opportunities
  • Your access to good schools, healthcare and transport links
  • Whether you enjoy living in your local area

The results of the survey will be used to inform the Committee’s inquiry and help shape the Committee’s recommendations to the Government.

If you’d like to find out more about the inquiry, or the work of the Treasury Committee, follow them on Twitter @CommonsTreasury