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Fundraising push to help save Clarke Foley Centre

Ilkley's Clarke Foley Centre is hoping the generosity of people and businesses in the town will help keep the facility open as it announces a new 'Friends Scheme'.

The community centre on Cunliffe Road says running costs have dramatically increased and that the charity may have to close it once financial reserves run out.

Trustees and managers have set out plans to increase income but also say the new membership scheme is an effort to raise vital funds.

Business Manager Joe Short says: “We are a unique facility that exists only because of the kindness and generosity of local brother and sister, James Clarke and Sarah Foley. Their bequest made the building of this facility possible and 42 years on from opening its doors, we continue to strive to carry out their wishes.

"Over the years the facility has evolved from a Day Centre to a hustling, bustling Community Centre with a café and several rooms which are hired out to the Community. The costs of running this building have increased dramatically in recent years. Heating, lighting, staffing, and maintenance costs mean that our café, room hire, and catering operations all lose money. We are now having to take money out of our reserve fund on a monthly basis just to keep the Centre running. If we don’t act and reach out for support now, our reserves will run out and The Clarke Foley Centre will eventually close completely. We are not going to let that happen, and we are acting.”

The centre says it is amalgamating kitchens and improving equipment to increase cafe capacity at the venue - and introducing new events to bring more people through the doors. There will also be new outdoor signs and better advertisement of the activities going on at the centre, plus an outdoor cafe seating area and new audio-visual equipment to make the venue more attractive to potential hirers.

Joe adds: "We are investing in the facilities to broaden, increase, and improve our offer. But now we need your help.”

To become a Friend, there is an annual membership fee of £30 a year, which works out at 8p a day. Members will receive a quarterly newsletter, early-bird access to tickets for events and an invitation to an annual Friends Thank You celebration. Businesses can take a corporate membership for £250 which includes publicity for the business via the Clarke Foley website, social media and emails plus the chance to take part in volunteering opportunities at the centre.

Joe Short said: “When you become a friend of Clarke Foley, you’ll be supporting a diverse range of individuals, groups, organisations, and local businesses that use our facilities daily. Each group, in their own way, provides physical, social, and mental health benefits to their attendees. In addition to our Community Café, our building is the home of lunch clubs, multiple exercise classes, dance classes, numerous social & support groups, a variety of educational classes & talks, musical & orchestral groups, advice & information sessions, fairs, sales, exhibitions, meetings and more.

"Supporting Clarke Foley means supporting a hub and second home that branches out and touches the whole Community. Being a Friend of Clarke Foley helps make all of the above possible. If you appreciate the value of the Clarke Foley Centre and would like this facility to be available to future generations, then please consider becoming a Friend today.”

More information can be found at


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