Midgley Commmunity Forum History

Midgley Community Forum and Midgley Matters Association Ltd – The Beginning

By the end of the 1990s Midgley had lost its last pub and the chapel had closed down. The only remaining facilities in the village were the shop and the school. There was no longer any community space where villagers could meet up and socialise together outside their own homes.

Then in 2001 the village shop and post office closed down unexpectedly leaving villagers without anywhere to buy a loaf of bread or bottle of milk without having to wait for a bus or getting into their car.

Midgley Community Forum is Born

A large group of concerned residents came together to plan a way forward, and in 2002 the Midgley Community Forum was formed. A commitment was made to bring about the setting up of a community room and a shop, and a number of sub-committees were established to bring this plan to fruition.

The Search for Suitable Premises

Fund raising activities commenced and the search began for suitable premises. Forum members worked tirelessly, and with the help of the Village Retail Services Association we gradually moved forward and everything came together in September 2003 when our village shop, post office and community room opened for business in Great House Barn. Many volunteers helped out with building and decorating work, as well as arranging a wide range of fund raising events and activities.

The volunteer-run shop and post office were based on the ground floor and the community room was housed upstairs in the owner's newly opened art gallery. A stair lift and disabled toilet made sure that no-one had been left out of Midgley's new community venture.

Fund Raising for the Benefit of the Community

Appropriate provisions were included in the Midgley Community Forum constitution to ensure that all fund raising proceeds would be for the benefit of the community. To facilitate the Shop retailing operation, and the leasing of premises, Midgley Matters Association Ltd was created as an Industrial and Provident Society, to ensure that surplus income arising from the activities of MMAL could only be used for the benefit of the community.

At last we had a focal point in the village with people walking up and down and speaking to each other! Hard work had been rewarded with a superb amenity that all could use.

Sadly, the Post Office pulled the plug on our sub post office at the time when they were axing hundreds of others and so we said goodbye to ours in August 2008. Around the same time, the lease break was actioned by the landlord and we needed new premises.

See the Shop History page for what happened next.

The Recent and Continuing Story

Midgley Community Forum runs the Community Room, organising various activities that bring all sections of the community together and serving as a focal point for village life. Typical events include Thursday coffee mornings, monthly community lunches, regular Friday quiz evenings, monthly Saturday breakfasts and much more. The Forum also organises external events, the most notable of which are the biennial Midgley Fete and Midgley Open Gardens.

These fundraising events, together with income from the shop and renting the flat have allowed us to contribute to improving village amenities, give grants and donations to local causes and maintain the fabric of the Old Coop building at the heart of the community.

For example: we worked closely with Midgley School and Calderdale Council to purchase and install new play equipment on the Recreation Ground; we have contributed to the upkeep of local pathways through our donations to CROWS (Community Rights of Way Service); we have started to address the sustainability of the building by installing solar panels; and with the help of a grant from the Community Foundation for Calderdale, installed double glazing in the shop.