A £55,000 boost will help transform the upstairs of a former bank so the number of adult classes run by a successful community project can be increased.
Queensbury Community Programme (QCP) hopes to create more learning rooms and fit a kitchen and disabled lift in the old NatWest building it now operates from in High Street.
Chairman of the QCP board of directors Michael Walls said the money was very welcome.
“It’s a huge building and the first floor was used as caretaker’s accommodation. We’ve found two old cast iron fireplaces and the beams are exposed, and we intend to keep those features,” he added.
“It hasn’t been altered since the bank was built.”
QCP offers classes for adults over 19, but particularly elderly people, including word processing, sewing and crafts, Spanish, art and digital photography.
It runs the sessions, plus a monthly Well Being cafe, across four sites in Queensbury, including ‘The Bank’ which it started renting and converting last year, and Queensbury School where the scheme originally started about 20 years ago. The £55,0000 was given by WREN, a not-for-profit business which awards grants to projects across the UK. It is now working with QCP on the plans.
Councillor Walls (Con, Queensbury) said the building’s ground floor had been full refurbished last year when QCP started renting the building from a local businessman.
“The £55,000 from WREN will be used to do the second stage, which is getting the top ready so we can use it for more classes,” he said.
“We’re also hopefully getting a grant from the Ward Investment Fund (a £3m pot of funding that was part of Leeds/Bradford Airport sale). We’re hoping to get around £10,000.”
Prior to 2013, QCP rented a room in Victoria Hall, owned by Bradford Council. Coun Walls added: “The building is a fantastic asset now. We were paying the Council the same amount for a room as we’re paying for a huge building now and we were tied down by the Council. Obviously staff had to open it up and we were restricted.”
It is hoped the work will be completed within three to four months.