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Leeds Mencap secure funds for new building

Leeds Mencap is excited to announce ambitious plans to build a brand new centre incorporating childcare and community provision at the heart of the East End Park local area. Plans have been drawn up following extensive research, consultation and feasibility work.

Thanks to Jimbo’s Fund, managed by Leeds Community Foundation, Leeds Mencap has secured a pledge of £1m which will provide nearly half of the costs needed to make this new centre a reality.  This pledge means that the next phase of the development work on the new centre can now go ahead.

Why?

The new centre will allow Leeds Mencap to expand from their current premises, which no longer meet their needs, into a new purpose-built space for children and adults with learning disabilities and their families, and also allow them to offer much-needed affordable childcare and space for other community groups and users in the area.

The overall aim of the new centre is to bring together the learning disability community and the local community of East End Park to share space, resources, and experience and work together to meet the needs of both communities.

Where?

The new centre will be built on Raincliffe Road (former site of Mount St. Marys Primary School) – this was the most popular site following consultations and will give better access by public transport and improved car parking and outdoor play areas.

What will happen to the current site?

It is intended that the current site will be sold for housing (subject to planning permission) and the proceeds investing in the new building. This would happen after January 2016 when the new building was ready to move into.

What will be in the new building?

It will be single storey, 1200 square metre new build with parking and include the following areas:

  • Hawthorn Playroom (with a sensory corner) and Dining Room and a larger parents’ room, with access to a one-to-one and ‘therapy/health’ room with outdoor play area.
  • Childcare provision – for all children aged 2, 3 and 4 – offering affordable full and part-time childcare and the government ‘Free Early Educational Entitlement (FEEE)’ which means that some 2 year olds and all 3 & 4 year olds are able to receive 570 hours a year of free childcare.
  • Large Activity Room with adjoining kitchenette, a further activity room, a soft play area and sensory room and outdoor play area – to be used by Leeds Mencap youth clubs, local community groups and other learning disability groups as well as spaces for hire for children’s birthday parties.
  • Office/meeting spaces for Leeds Mencap staff and local community groups and learning disability groups to be able to use/co-locate with us.

What Happens Next?

  • A Project Board will be mobilised, which will include members with relevant construction experience to provide support and oversight for this project.
  • Widening of Partnership Working Group (Representatives from Sunshine and Smiles (a support network for children and young people with Down Syndrome and their families) and Community Unity (a local community group) have been part of this group and have really helped with the development to date. All groups interested in using the centre will be invited to become part of this group,
  • Business planning and operational development and identifying opportunities for people to get involved who may not want to join the Partnership Working Group
  • Capital fundraising campaign – the £1m grant, along with other pledges received, means that Leeds Mencap now has over 50% of the money needed to build the new centre.
  • Working closely with Richmond Hill Children’s centre continuing to develop the partnership with them to deliver the much needed childcare provision.
  • Leeds Mencap will secure the new site on Raincliffe Road with an ‘Option to Buy’ that will be binding until April 2015. During this time, Leeds Mencap will undertake site investigations, legal searches and prepare the planning application. Once the formal Option to Buy legal agreement has been signed no one else will be able to buy this land during this time, and Leeds Mencap aim to formally exchange by the end of April 2015 when planning permission will have been achieved and the detailed development work is completed. Professionals have been appointed to support with specialist areas such as legal / conveyancing services / capital build project management and cost control services.

Want to know more?

Please feel free to speak to Bernie Gahan, overall Project Manager about this on-going work.

E-mail Bernie.gahan@leedsmencap.org.uk; Mobile 07789 724280 or direct dial 0113 8582034.


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