residents, businesses and community groups came out in force on Sunday to help save Todmoden’s college.
Lancaster University provided the funds for Todmorden Learning Centre and Community Hub (TLC) to rent the Burnley Road building for a day as part of TLC’s campaign to convince Calderdale Council it can make the college financially viable. The council’s other option is demolishing the building and selling to supermarket giant Aldi.
Treasurer Robin Asby said TLC’s business plan was taking shape: “Calderdale has given us an opportunity. They say if we present a great business proposal and show a community need, we can have the college transferred to Todmorden as an asset of community value.”
He said 30 key tenants wanted to use the building, which meant TLC could achieve annual rental income “substantially above the running costs of the building”. Architect Rick Storah’s outline plans for the site were on show and Barbara Jones of the School of Natural Building led a tour of the site to show how natural building techniques could improve it. Grant aid is also being sought.
Exhibitors included Healthy Minds, which wants to keep its college base, Todmorden Harriers, which wants to use the gym, Project Colt, which plans a recycled furniture workshop, ELM Academy for apprenticeships in hairdressing, the School of Natural Building, Arty Pants craft collective and the Federation of Small Businesses Calderdale.
Representatives from Leeds, Durham and Lancaster Universities, the School of Natural Building and Incredible Farm joined Todmorden Mayor Christine Potter and Mary Loney, who ran an art college at the site, to discuss TLC’s education options. There was also interest in providing basic education, adult education, training and apprenticeships and reinstating Tordmorden Art College. There was food from Three Valley Vegans, music from Celtic Vibes and a collaborative art activity led by former Tod College art teacher Shelley Burgoyne. Lambert Print and Design of Hebden Bridge provided the welcome banner.
The open day was followed by TLC’s fundraising auction at the Golden Lion, Todmorden, which raised more than £1,500. Supporters can donate at TLC’s gofundme page, www.gofundme.com/save-our-college-in-todmorden, or join TLC as a member for £10.