Salford Charedim will have their first multi-use community centre after being handed the keys to a disused library by Salford Council.
The vacant two-storey Broughton Library building was closed last year after library facilities were moved to the adjacent £9 million Broughton Hub development.
Talks with Charedi charity, Interlink, have resulted in a 25-year lease of the building for the Jewish community and charitable organisations that have been struggling to find premises. The deal has also prompted Salford City Council to pursue a policy enabling more empty council properties to be handed over to local groups.
It is expected that the centre will open in autumn and house the Aim Habonim and Ezer LaYeled special needs schools, alongside a kitchen, meeting rooms and offices on the first floor.
Interlink will be seeking financial support for major refurbishments, such as overhauling the heating system, urgent repairs to a leaking roof and rotted windows, new toilets and security fencing. Around £35,000 alone is needed to upgrade the building’s lift.
Local businesses are being invited to engage with the project and specialist advice is being sought on energy-saving technology and a playground suitable for disabled children.
Interlink’s Nava Kestenbaum said large-scale consultation had shown “great excitement” about the community centre. “What’s groundbreaking is our work with the council to create an asset transfer policy which will see communities all over Salford benefiting. For the Jewish community, it is recognition of the important work our local organisation does. Space is at a premium and organisations have been struggling for years with their current facilities.”