HOLMFIRTH Adult Education Centre is set to open for an extra day a week from September.
Over the last academic year, the building has only been open on Tuesday and Wednesdays for non-vocational subjects.
But from the autumn, the centre will also open on Thursdays when it will provide the venue for a number of courses leading to qualifications. Full details of the classes on offer will be announced next month.
The decision follows extensive meetings between Kirklees College, which manages the building, and Holme Valley community representatives.
It is also good news for local people who had fought to save the centre.
Kirklees College and Holmfirth and the Holme Valley Education, Arts and Rural Trust (Heart) have been meeting regularly since negotiations at two public meetings last summer when local residents expressed anger at the proposed closure of the adult education centre.
Heart carried out a consultation with local people to discover which courses they would like to see or provide themselves.
In response, Kirklees College has run courses in IT, pottery, keep fit, upholstery, flower arranging, dress making, cake decorating, jewellery, art, stained glass and millinery.
Latest figures revealed that 818 people enrolled on adult education courses at the centre during 2011/2012 and a further 185 at Holmfirth High School.
Chris Hooper, the college’s head of community learning, said: “We will continue to listen to the community of Holmfirth and we have been really impressed by the strength of feeling about the centre and adult education.
“I’m really pleased that we have made good progress and, from September 2012, we’ll be offering courses leading to qualifications, not just for leisure.
“We’re taking our work with the Holmfirth community very seriously and we continue to welcome suggestions and feedback. We’re also still keen to hear from any other groups that may want to use the facilities at the centre.”
Heart member Margaret Dale said: “We are very pleased that there has been enough demand to enable the Holmfirth centre to be open two days a week and we welcome the college’s decision to increase this to three.
“We recognise that we and the college have had to overcome some practicalities and financial challenges to keep the centre open and I’m sure the community would join us in welcoming the extended opening.
“It is clear that there is a lot more work to be done to secure a long term future for the Holmfirth centre to expand its use as a centre for learning in the widest possible sense of the word.”
The college will be putting the old police station section of the centre up for sale and upholstery classes will be transferred to the main part of the building. Some of the proceeds will be spent on upgrading the centre to support the extra opening hours and new courses.
For Holmfirth Adult Education Centre enquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01484 437171.