Offenders’ work on sports centre

A DILAPIDATED children’s nursery has been reopened as a sports club and community centre after being refurbished by offenders working for free.

The building, in Cemetery Road, Heckmondwike, was previously a target for anti-social behaviour. The roof was falling in and water pipes were leaking.

Spen Valley Area Committee, Heckmondwike Sports Club Committee and Kirklees Council decided to reopen it as a sports centre, with the area committee pledging £16,000.

In April, teams of offenders on West Yorkshire Probation’s Community Payback scheme began work to transform the building, completing hundreds of hours of unpaid work.

Andrew Crowther, from Heckmondwike Sports Club Committee, said: “This has been a fantastic transformation from a damp, unusable ruin with mushrooms growing inside, to a clean light building in a brilliant location.

“It’s taken a lot of work but together with the area committee, Kirklees Council, the Community Payback Team and local residents the result is brilliant.”

Area committee chairman Coun Andrew Pinnock, (Lib Dem, Cleck) said: “It’s amazing what can be achieved when we all work together.

“The refurbishment of the building meets the needs of the local people, young and old, and we look forward to hearing about the difference it is making to their health and wellbeing.”

Kathy Loney, head of Kirklees Probation, said: “Our Community Payback teams have worked really hard, providing invaluable support in a whole range of tasks from cleaning out the building and filling skips, to stripping wall paper. We are thrilled with what has been achieved and believe the refurbished building will greatly benefit the community.

“Anyone can suggest a project for the Community Payback teams to tackle and we encourage members of the public, faith groups, local businesses, voluntary and community organisations and other public sector organisations to contact us and nominate projects which will make a real difference to our communities.”

To suggest a Community Payback project, call 01484 826 199 or visit