Opened in 1982, the New Wortley Community Centre has become an important facility for more than 600 people in one of the most deprived areas of Leeds. New Wortley has high suicide rates, anti-social behaviour and high crime rates. Open 70 hours a week, the centre gives local people, 29% of whom claim out of work benefits, a place to meet, learn new skills to get back into employment, improve fitness and wellbeing through GP access, mental health provision and physical activities, as well as improve social cohesion through volunteering.

Now 30 years old, the community centre building is run down and unappealing, which makes it hard to attract the other 1200 people in the ward, and it has reached capacity. Thanks to a Big Lottery Fund grant a new community centre has just been built next door, doubling its size. Meanwhile, Power to Change’s £210,000 grant is enabling the refurbishment of the existing centre into a health and wellbeing centre.

New Wortley is only a mile from Leeds centre, yet it has some of the worst statistics for the city in terms of crime and health. The new centre will attract vulnerable people we have not yet reached

Bill Graham

Lead worker on the project

What impact has the new building had?

Since the opening of the new building in August 2016, the number of employed staff has risen to 21 in 2018 from 14 in 2017 and 2 in 2013, many of which were unemployed before starting work at the New Wortley Community Centre. The number of volunteers has increased rapidly, rising from 12 in 2003, to 48 in 2017 and 70 in 2018!

Trading income has more than tripled, and the building is now open 85 hours a week compared to 40 hours a week in 2013.

Community centre activities

The Community centre hosts a wide range of activities for all ages (0-100) including health and fitness activities such as Zumba, Youth clubs and groups, lunch clubs and older peoples activities. Lots of training and education courses and a wide range of creative arts opportunities including Music Spoken word, written word  and drama, not forgetting all the fun activities and groups to build friendships networks and connections.