£400,000 approved for necessary work as Calderdale Council takes on running Orangebox

Orangebox is at Blackledge, Halifax
Orangebox is at Blackledge, Halifax

Councillors have agreed to fund around £400,000 to address infrastructure issues at a high-profile Calderdale youth project.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet has already agreed the council will take on the running of Orangebox, at Blackledge, Halifax, from Square Chapel Trust, which has struggled to deal with financial pressures placed on it by the centre.

And last night’s meeting (Wednesday, July 18) of the full council approved £400,000 which is needed to address minor works relating to health and safety and information and communication technology infrastructure.

These issues need to be addressed before Calderdale staff occupy Orangebox further and £400,000 should be the maximum figure with money coming from the council’s capital programme.

When the relevant deed of dedication with the Department of Education for the council to be responsible for Orangebox’s grant agreement is completed, the trust having surrendered to the council the existing lease, the council will take on the centre’s running costs in the current financial year.

It is also in the process of identifying revenue – currently around £114,000 per year – in the budget to cover Orangebox’s ongoing running and financing costs from 2019-20 onwards.

Orangebox includes facilities such as rehearsal rooms, a recording studio, a café and much more.

Orangebox was established under the “My Place” central government scheme in 2010, with a brief of providing appropriate and purposeful formal and informal activities for young people with a focus on the teenage and young adult age range as a condition of the funding,the centre being set up with the grant of £3.8 million, awarded in 2011.

Visitors to see its work have included Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

In 2017 Square Chapel Trust had reported to the council that it was having to subsidise running costs, both Orangebox itself and the trust having struggled to source funding to meet the expense.