Cash-strapped Council plans to hand over Ilkley museum to community (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Cash-strapped Council plans to hand over Ilkley museum to community
7:08am Monday 23rd June 2014 in News
CASH-STRAPPED Bradford Council is still determined to hand the running of a museum over to volunteers, despite a previous "lack of community interest" in taking it on.
The authority wants to pull out of running Ilkley's Manor House Museum, to save £30,000 a year.
The museum was at risk of being mothballed earlier this year, after no groups came forward to run it - but a combination of funding from Ilkley Parish Council and help from Friends of the Manor House volunteers is keeping it open for another year.
Now a permanent solution has to be found to safeguard the museum's future when this deal comes to an end in March 2015.
A new report going before the Council's Executive on Tuesday once again recommends transferring the running of the Manor House to a "community-led model".
But the report acknowledges the previous "lack of community interest" in taking over responsibility for the site, and says hopefully the 12-month reprieve will "enable community interest groups to develop plans and proposals to take on the site".
An informal community group, separate to the Friends of the Manor House, has now got together to consider options for the museum's future.
Chairman Ruth Pitt said: "There's a group of people in Ilkley who are really interested in looking into what the alternatives might be for fulfilling the potential of the Manor House, but our feeling is that we need to do a feasibility study to kind of find out what the town really wants, to get a sense of who's out there and what support there would be."
Bradford Council's executive member for culture, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, said: "I'm grateful for the support of Ilkley Parish Council and the Museum Friends Group in keeping the museum open while a more permanent community-led solution is found."
Over the past few years, community groups have stepped in to run a number of council-owned facilities.
And last year the authority agreed to hand over the running of two council-owned outward bound centres in the Dales to specially-created trusts, to save £73,000 a year.
A separate money-saving plan to turn nine children's centres into volunteer-run "outreach bases" was put on ice in February this year.
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