New community centre planned

A NEW Jewish youth and community centre is planned for Whitefield.

The Manchester Jewish Representative Council wants to take over Whitefield Library — and establish the centre there.

Rep Council vice-president Jonny Wineberg and president Sharon Bannister have called for partners to join them in the project. Bury Council had asked for its former library buildings to be turned into “assets of community value”.

But the idea has already been criticised.

With two synagogues — Whitefield and Shaare Shalom — and a community space provided by Chabad already in the area, communal activist Brian White said: “Are we just creating another entity that will need more money?

“There’s quite a lot of youth and community provision already, and I genuinely don’t know whether there is a need for it.”

Mr White, chairman of Manchester Jewish Community Care, added: “You’ve already got the Maccabi centre, which needs as much income as it can get, and the Jewish Cultural Centre.

“Does it fit in with the master schedule for the community? I don’t think it does. It needs to be co-ordinated with all the other organisations.”

But Mr Wineberg said: “We do not have a proper community centre. Space is at a premium and the Jewish community struggles for it.

“Lots of people have talked about it, but now there is a real opportunity to actually do something.”

Since 2010, Harold House in Liverpool, a Jewish youth club in south Manchester and Mamlock House — Manchester’s former Zionist headquarters — were all forced to close due to lack of funding.

Mr Wineberg said: “A new centre will work if we provide the appropriate activities.”

He added that they are interested in hearing from those who wanted a focus for activities such as a gym, community cafe, youth projects and events for older people.

He said there was a possibility that the Rep Council offices could be housed there, too.

Former president of the Zionist Central Council Joy Wolfe, who was a key figure at Mamlock House, also questioned a need for a new centre.

She said: “We are trying to recreate a Mamlock House environment with the B’nei Akiva bayit in Salford.

“Obviously, I am supportive of anything that creates facilities for youth and community provisions in Manchester as there have been missed opportunities in the past.

“While I support the idea, I would hope it would be complimentary to the fact that we are building the bayit into just that — we currently have plans to extend it and that will happen.”

Site developed & maintained by
© 2017 Jewish Telegraph