Hundreds support campaign to save Windmill Youth Club

Rothwell Cllrs Karen Bruce and David Nagle at WindmillWe’ve got the year off to a flying start by keeping up the momentum on our campaign to save the Windmill Youth club with a street stall in early January outside Morrisons where local people were keen to sign the petition to keep the youth club open. I was on the stall collecting petition signatures with Cllr David Nagle and parliamentary candidate Veronica King, as well as local Labour Party members and members of Rothwell Tenants and Residents Association.

We are doing the next street stall outside Morrisons this Saturday (January 31) at 11.30. It would be great if you could come along and help us collect signatures.

The Windmill centre is one of ten community centres across Leeds included in a review which went to the executive board of Leeds City Council.  Leeds City Council has had its budget cut by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat government by £142 million since 2010 and further cuts of £60 million are expected over the next two years. The report to executive board states that the Windmill centre is ‘a utilised, but expensive facility’.

The consultation period has  been extended to take account of the Christmas holiday period and runs until 22 March. Responses are coming in both from those who are involved with the club and from members of the public and will be considered as part of this consultation. Email responses to the consultation should be sent to communities@leeds.gov.uk and these will be collated and responded to.

Fighting to save WindmillI’ve been working with David Nagle to look at possible solutions to keep the youth club open by looking at what can be done to increase usage during the daytime and are looking at several options including whether local colleges might want to use the building or the local Rothwell cluster of schools. If you have any ideas to increase usage and bring income into the building to make it viable, please contact me.

The local campaign already has hundreds of signatures from local people, after Rothwell youth club users, residents and councillors joined forces to fight for the future of the Windmill youth club. The club holds special memories for many parents and grandparents who are fighting alongside the young people determined not to lose the local club. Young people in the area have been attending Windmill for half a century. One woman brought her old Windmill badge to show me at the Labour councillors stall at the Rothwell Christmas Fair where she was petitioning to save the ‘youthy’.

There is some daytime capacity at the centre and we are looking at ways that this can be filled to make the youth club viable and hopefully save it. I have made some suggestions to council officers for how the building can be utilised more.  Joseph Priestley College recently closed its doors in Rothwell and I want to explore the possibility of the college using some space at Windmill, Leeds City College may be another option. The Rothwell cluster management, which works with all the schools in Rothwell is currently housed at Rodillian, could it be housed in Windmill?

The Windmill centre is well used and much loved. Windmill is a place of their own for our local young people, we’re lucky in Rothwell to have our own youth centre which is so well used and well loved by our young people. We will fight tooth and nail to keep Windmill as it’s such a fabulous asset for Rothwell.

The youth club is used by various age groups on different nights of the week and can see up to 50 or 60 young people attending individual sessions.  The mechanics building was left to the community and was then transferred to what was the West Riding council.  The Windmill centre has a management committee and trustees.

You can sign the petition online here http://bit.ly/savewindmill it has been gaining momentum fast.