Originally, a number of Disabled and Elderly Groups met in the upstairs rooms at a Council property on Market Street, Halifax – now occupied by Tesco. These rooms had many drawbacks, access, fire regulations and so forth and the Groups were given a months notice to vacate the premises.
Promises had previously been made by the Local Authority and the NHS that a Centre would be made available for their use. However, when the time came for the Groups to quit the Market Street premises there was no money available from either of these bodies. This led to the late Maurice Jagger calling the organisations together and launching an appeal to raise £30,000 to fund a new purpose built Centre.
Suitable land was found in the centre of Halifax and building actually started before the target was reached a huge commitment from those involved. Fund raising continued in earnest and eventually the target was reached, and indeed passed. This enabled the Centre to be built on a much larger scale than first planned. Further additions of two garages were made as funds allowed. These were vital to the Centre as they housed specialist mini buses needed to transport the Disabled and Elderly to and from the Centre.
In March 1982 the Maurice Jagger Centre was opened. Maurice himself was actively involved in the running of the Centre until he was 88 years old and he died in 2005 aged 92. The dream of many years ago had become a reality – he was a happy man…..
What we do today in 2022
It is now 40 years since the opening in 1982 and the Centre has gone from strength to strength owing to a small but dedicated team. This is made up of a number of volunteers, the Management Committee and Trustees – Margaret Mattingley, Geoff Wright, Jean Redford, Michele Wood, Doreen Lloyd, Renee Webster, and David Greenwood.
The Centre is used every weekday and most weekends. There are even occasions when the Centre hosts three different Groups in a day – morning, afternoon and evening. A large number of Groups make use of the Centre and these include Whist, Stroke Support, Hx Wine Circle, Fabricology, Calder Quilters, Hx Aachen Society, Calderdale German Circle, Gentle Exercise, Calderdale Family History, Our Place, Healthy Minds and Macular Support. Check out the diary page for the full list.
Our 2 minibuses are used every Wednesday and Thursday for the Luncheon Clubs run by the Centre. Additionally, when we have other events such as Games or Quiz nights, Concerts or Sunday lunch, the minibuses are brought into service. Groups needing transport for their own support Groups are also able to use the vehicles. We have a team of dedicated volunteer Drivers & Escorts. The Centre Transport Manager is June Spark.
The MJC Luncheon Club provides a hot 3 course lunch every Wednesday and Thursday. All the fresh food is sourced and bought locally in Calderdale. A number of volunteers serve the food each Luncheon Club day and the food is prepared by our own experienced Cook. Approximately 100 meals are provided each week. Despite all this activity in the kitchen, we are proud that the Centre is consistently awarded a 5 star rating (the maximum) for food preparation and hygiene in the kitchen.
How we are funded……
The Centre’s annual expenditure is approximately £50k and as we are a self funding charity the money is raised by ourselves. In addition we have been successful in the past in being awarded an annual Ward Forum grant of £500 and ad hoc Lunch Club grants to help us put on special Xmas lunches and improve our kitchen equipment.
Our main sources of income are Room Hire 50%, and the remaining 50% raised by Luncheon Clubs, the Autumn Fair, raffles, sale of second hand goods, clothes and bric a brac from a small room in the Centre, a market stall once a year in Halifax Town Centre, Quiz and Games Nights, Special Sunday Lunches, Cream Tea’s, Concerts and so forth.
We, in line with other Charities, have been hard hit by the current economic climate and especially over the past 2 years with the Covid 19 pandemic. However, we have received grant support from Calderdale allowing us to continue our work which included circa 40 meals a meal to vulnerable and lonely people when we had to close our doors during lockdown. Donations and bank interest continue to be low and we fully expect this to continue into the foreseeable future.
Nevertheless, whilst the Trustees are prudent with the finances, they are also conscious of the need to keep the building well furnished, attractive and up to date. In the past two years we have installed an air conditioning system, sound and projector system, new clothes racks to display donated items and a new hot plate in the kitchen.
The Trustees are supported by four paid part time employees, a Caretaker Chris Peter, a Cook Susan Mitchel, a Senior Administrator Alison Stevens, an Administrator Tracey Poskitt. The remainder of the work is carried out by our small team of dedicated volunteers approximately 30 in number.
Future plans ………
Our aim will always be to continue providing a pleasant place that groups can use to support the local people of Calderdale where they can come and be made welcome. To enjoy either a special activity such as Embroidery, Quilting, Gentle Exercise or Whist. Perhaps to discuss their medical conditions with others in the same position and to get comfort, reassurance and advice. Or just to meet in a safe, clean, warm and welcoming environment, staffed by people who care what happens to them. In fact, to have a jolly good time amongst friends.