£400,000 sought for Orangebox as Calderdale Council agrees to take youth centre on

Prince Edward visiting the Orangebox youth centre, Halifax, several years ago. Picture: Bruce Fitzgerald Photography
Prince Edward visiting the Orangebox youth centre, Halifax, several years ago. Picture: Bruce Fitzgerald Photography

Approval is being sought for up to £400,000 being made available by Calderdale Council to address work relating to infrastructure issues at the Orangebox young people’s centre at Blackledge, Halifax.

In the part of its meeting exempt to public and press in June, the council’s Cabinet agreed to take on the running of Orangebox from Square Chapel Trust, which had struggled to deal with financial pressures placed on it by the centre.

These were indicated to the council last year and in January the trust asked the council to look at taking on the responsibility, now agreed.

On Wednesday, July 18, full council will be asked to address minor works relating to health and safety and information and communication technology infrastructure which need to be addressed before council staff occupy Orangebox further.

The should have a cost of no more than £400,000 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.

Last year the council said Square Chapel Trust’s managing and running the building was always a temporary arrangement despite a 125 year lease agreement being in place.

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.

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.