It’s back to school for village project

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A former Ingleton school is to re-open as a centre for small and start-up businesses.

Ingleton Middle School, which closed last summer, could also house health and welfare organisations and community groups. in what will be known as the i-Centre.

The project is being overseen by Ingleton Middle Community Interest Company, which has agreed a 25-year lease with North Yorkshire County Council. It hopes to open the centre by April.

The company is being run on a not for profit basis by a board of directors and associate members who give their time and expertise voluntarily.

A lottery grant will be used to start the project. Other grant applications will be made but the aim is to make the centre self-financing by mid 2014.

Parts of the site will be let to businesses at commercial rates, allowing the centre to maintain the building and support charity and community use on other units. The centre will provide services for the surrounding area, complementing existing ones.

Chair of the company board, Rosemary Hartley, said: “The board is optimistic that the i-Centre will be developed into a dynamic centre encouraging new and growing businesses and providing space for health services, adult education and other organisations contributing to the wellbeing of the area.”

Peter Bright, head of property services at the council, said: “The i-Centre is a great opportunity in Ingleton for community groups and small enterprises to grow and add vibrancy to the life of the village and surrounding areas.”

Local MP Julian Smith, said: “The concept of the i centre, to bring together enterprise, health and welfare services under one roof, is pioneering and I pay tribute to the team of dedicated and passionate volunteers who are making their vision become a reality.”

Anyone with an expertise in property maintenance and management who wishes to join the board should contact Rosemary Hartley on 015242 42207 or at rosemaryhartley@btinternet.com.