FUTURE OF BRACKEN HALL COUNTRYSIDE CENTRE (SHIPLEY GLEN)
This e-mail is being broadcast quite widely and each recipient will have a different level of prior knowledge as to what it is about.
Please therefore stay with me as I try to explain.
As we all know there are some tricky decisions being taken at the moment about public spending, not least in local government.
As a result, Bradford Council is withdrawing the £23,000 from its budget which is currently used for staffing and running Bracken Hall Countryside Centre at Shipley Glen in Baildon, BD17 5EA.
Bracken Hall provides, amongst other things:
A museum about the history, archaeology and natural history of the area
A base for walkers and others enjoying the great outdoors
A visitor information point
An education facility
A shop selling ice cream and local merchandise
A fully accessible toilet facility
As Chair of the Parish Council I have been in discussion with Bradford Council for a couple of months regarding the possibility of:
(1) the Parish Council providing some temporary or permanent resources to ensure that the doors can stay open whilst more developed arrangements are put into place,
(2) co-ordinating the building of a volunteer base to replace or compliment the paid staffing and (3) taking on the lease and liabilities at the Centre.
This follows previous discussions between Bradford Council and other environmental groups which were not successful, not because of a lack of enthusiasm for the subject matter, but because of the understandable reservations about taking on responsibility for the Centre as a whole.
I therefore raised the matter at the meeting of the Parish Council held on 11th February, where it was resolved to make a statement on the importance or Bracken Hall, to formally open discussions with Bradford Council and to consider a draft plan of action at the next meeting on 11th March.
The Parish Council meeting on 11th March is a meeting held in public, but not a public meeting. There is, however, a public participation session at the start of the meeting whereby anyone can make their feelings known about any issue. This is at 7:30pm and is held in Baildon Community Link on Cliffe Avenue BD17 6NX. You will be welcome to attend.
In order to provide a more informal forum for discussion with interested persons and organisations, I am calling a public meeting at 2pm on Sunday 10th March, meeting outside Bracken Hall and possibly moving inside or to the Old Glen House depending on the numbers. The purpose of this meeting will be to discuss the potential role of volunteers in the running of the Centre.
The ability to organise a volunteer base is a central pillar which supports a lot of the other aspects of the proposal. I therefore make a particular request that all related organisations, of which I am contacting as many as I can think of, consider sending at least one representative. I stress that nobody is under any obligation to commit; we are simply exploring the possibilities.
I also know that there are many people living locally who, as individuals, possess knowledge, skills and experience that will be highly applicable to this project and I make a special request to anyone who thinks they have something to offer.
I will also invite community liaison co-ordinators from our local schools and various other organisations.
Once we have established if there is a credible volunteer base, the Parish Council will be in a better position to decide what other action it can take. This COULD include a combination of:
1. Overall responsibility
2. Staffing costs
3. Other costs
4. Co-ordination of volunteers
6. Accountancy etc.
Please respond to confirm your attendance at the meeting at 2pm on Sunday 10th March, meeting outside Bracken Hall. If you cannot come personally, please pass this e-mail to the next most appropriate person
If you do attend, I advise wearing clothes that are suitable for walking around the Glen area, which we may wish to do, even if it is only to the pub!
Please also feel free to broadcast this message to anyone else you think may be interested in the future of Bracken Hall.
Your involvement is sincerely appreciated.