At the back of the 'Height Library, there's a charming attached building with a plaque reading 'AD 1901' which was the former home of the 'Height Youth Club. It's been boarded up and abandoned by Salford City Council, ever since it 're-organised' its youth service three years ago, and now lies derelict, despite there being almost no community facilities in the area.
"The sad thing about it is that the building has deteriorated, slates have fallen off the roof and as a consequence there's been three years of water pouring in...but, apart from that, the building is still in very good condition" says Stef Lorenz of the Claremont Community Centre Campaign, which is aiming to get a lease from the Council and bring the place back into use.
"The Council has agreed to discuss with us the possibility of leasing it on condition that it doesn't cost them a penny, and that we restore the building and run it" Stef explains "It's going to cost about £50,000, with the idea that it will be available for hire so we won't actually need staff. We're hoping to get a social enterprise to come and run the cafe and then volunteers will actually organise hiring it out.
"It's got a large hall with a big stage, and we've had several amateur dramatic groups keen to use it" she adds "There's also at least three meeting rooms and a training room upstairs, so there's a lot of possibilities, and we're getting all sorts of groups interested. We're also working with the Library and the Methodist Church across the road, which does have a nice hall but is vastly oversubscribed.
"We're about to do an online consultation with people from the area to find out what they want from the centre, and we know that there is a big concern about parking, which we're negotiating about" she says "But this is something we really need in the community and we're determined to do it..."
To kickstart the fundraising campaign there's currently an Online Art Auction, featuring works by Harold Riley, Simone Ridyard, who is exhibiting at the Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Stephen 'Broady' Broadhurst, and over twenty other top Salford artists. Les Noar, has also done a picture of the the Height Library building, with the original on sale and prints made into greetings cards which are on sale to raise money.
The idea is that people put their bids by the photo of their preferred artwork on the Claremont Online Art Auction Facebook page* and the highest bidders by 1st May get the paintings. Some of the reserves start at just £10, and it's a great chance to pick up an affordable stunning piece of art while helping the cause.
The pictures are also currently on display at the De La Salle Sports and Social Club on Lancaster Road, on each Saturday until 28th April (11am-4pm, except for next Saturday 7th April 11am-1pm).
The winning bidders will be presented with their pictures at a Gala Evening on 1st May at the De La Salle Social Club, complete with a buffet, bar and music. Tickets are £5, with all proceeds to the Campaign (click here for details).
Meanwhile, there's also a Jumble Sale on Saturday 7th April 2pm to 4pm at Sutton Community Centre at Doveridge Gardens M6 7LY – 50p entry with all proceeds again going to the Campaign (click here for details).
"People have been fantastic and generous" says Stef "And we're only just starting..."
* For full details and to access the Facebook Claremont Art Auction page – click here
For more details of the Campaign see the Facebook page – click here