Now that the lease has been signed we are able to submit a number of Lottery-based grant funders and this will start within the next few days. These grant applications cover capital building works (repairs and alterations) and installations (to bring specific elements of the site and buildings into a particular use).
Our application to the Charity Commission was made over 6 months ago but we are still having to answer their questions and at this stage we don’t know when the application will reach its conclusion. Getting Charity status will benefit SBF&W financially in a number of ways and increase our credibility but we are in the hands of the CC and we’ll let you know how this pans out in due course.
We will always need money! Now that the lease is in place we will be faced with business rates, insurances and electricity bills at an early stage and our costs will escalate. As mentioned above we now have some funds towards repairs to the buildings but very little for running costs. We will need to address how we pay for the increasing amount of administration and will probably have to pay an administrator before too long. An initial estimate is that we will need about £10,000 in the first year, increasing in subsequent years.
We also raise funds at various events such as the quarterly Totally Locally markets, events held in the fire station etc and bucket collections, and other charitable organisations often share out their funds with us.We have also benefited from gifts and payments in kind such as a PA system from Huddersfield University, a 25 foot film screen from Hebden Bridge Film Society, blackout curtains from J & C Joel Ltd, and immense help from EPS Plant Hire, The Works Pub, Skyblazers, J A Productions, D D Porter Ltd; O&W Crawshaw Ltd; Priestley&Taffs Ltd; Ryburn Valley Builders Merchants, Thunderfix, Thor Home Care, Rushbearing, Rotary, Sowerby Bridge Civic Trust and many, many others.
We have two immediate concerns about the buildings relating to the combined effects of dry rot, rainwater ingress and pigeons.
We have just completed five morning sessions of voluntary work to clear out plaster from walls and ceilings, remove rubbish and build timber partitions and barriers to pave the way for a community building contractor to remove a portion of the roof over Gym 1 and some timber floors in the front building. Our goal is to create a physical separation to the spread of the dry rot to and from the Library which will enable the Council to complete its own dry rot work in the Library.
We also hope to have a community building contractor start work on the roof of the council offices (and possibly the fire station roof) to repair the holes, bypass an internal valley gutter and clean out parapet gutters – to seal the roof leaks and prevent pigeon access.
Our funding for this (approximately £34,000) is made up of the money which Calderdale Council agreed in 2014 and has now released, and a grant from the Sowerby Bridge Development Board which we expect to be transferred very soon. We do not yet know how far these sums will stretch but we’ll do as much as possible with these resources. These two projects should be completed before the end of the year.
We are developing a timetable of works across the whole site (our Development Plan) to prioritise the order of work so that we get parts of the buildings into either temporary use or better still into permanent use. The implementation of the Development Plan will depend on the results of our grant applications and will inevitably result in a phased timetable but we are very conscious of the importance of getting the buildings into community-supportive use as soon as possible – we’ve all waited far too long for this!
Small schemes will include getting some plumbing and toilets into the buildings, creating fire escape and access doors in various places and ever more stripping out work.
If we have any money left after these two projects have been completed we will see if it is possible to install an electrical ring main throughout the buildings and do some drains investigations.