Saturday, 1 February 2014

My Visit to the Mary Hindle Centre, Haslingden & update on former owners Agapao.

On Friday I visited the Mary Hindle Centre in Haslingden to see how Veterans in the Community have transformed the building into a fantastic community asset and to discuss Haslingden and its future with some local community volunteers.

You will recall that we organised a huge campaign to return the building to the community following its demise under Agapao International. Here's just a few articles on the issue:

http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/rossendale/haslingden/10694216.Haslingden_s_Mary_Hindle_centre_to_be_transferred_to_veterans__group/

http://hhgrahamjones.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/letter-to-letter-to-free-press-agapao.html
http://www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/2/news-headlines/78711/troubled-charity-sets-up-home-in-rochdale

And today I was delighted to see that VIC and their volunteers have transformed the building into a real community hub that helps them deliver to veterans and non-veterans alike. It was great to witness an art class being delivered by veterans to local residents and to learn that VIC have sustainable plans to keep the building going and for providing services to the local community.

Former owners: Agapao International (charity)

I have been extremely disappointed with the actions of Agapao International; trying to sell of the Mary Hindle Centre, a £300,000 public asset and disappointed in its activities in Uganda where it has been involved in community projects. I have reported the Charity’s activities to the Government minister responsible and notably the Charity Commission who as a result placed several demands on the Charity. My local campaign signed up 50 new members with the intent of taking over the charity at the AGM and transfer the Mary Hindle Centre back to the people of Haslingden. In the end it appeared that the public pressure was too much and Agapao gave up, took the building off the market and transferred the building to Haslingden charity ViC and facing a crowd of unsympathetic new members, dissolved the Charity. I am not delighted but actually quite sad that it has had to come to this but I have always said I would pursue the charity relentlessly for the people of Haslingden.

Agapao's mismanagement of the building was a blight on Haslingden and to work with the people of Haslingden to bring the building back into use has been a huge relief. I'd like to thank all the volunteers who helped in the campaign and Veterans in the Community for their renovation work and I look forward to supporting them in their plans for the future.