By Charlotte Coleman
At the October meeting of the DCA 2011 we found out from Duncan Rhodes that the Methodist church, known as Wrigley Mill would have to be sold due to dwindling congregation numbers. This decision not only profoundly affected church goers, it would ultimately impact on, not only existing community events but on the future potential for Diggle residents to meet and engage in social events etc. A group of energetic residents, who, after the meeting, sought solace in the Hanging Gate, decided that they would try and do something about it. The first step was to have a public meeting to ascertain the village mood- did the residents of Diggle care enough to save their community centre? Would it be worth the uphill struggle that would undoubtedly lie ahead?
The response to the meeting gave every indication that the answer to these questions was positive. The posters around Diggle had attracted enough people to encourage the Diggle Community Association (DCA) to form a subcommittee. We appointed a chairman with a highly experienced background in Project Management and together with other dynamic people formed The Wrigley Mill: Community Action Group otherwise known as WM: CAG. The group has come a long way since its inception, picking up what expert advice was to hand and generally working hard in the background to look at ways in which we could raise the money to buy the building or certainly to keep the mill as a community resource for Diggle. The driving force that united the group was the prospect of a property developer buying the building for yet more housing but in doing so ripping out the heart of the village. The group felt then, and still does that whilst Kiln Green is a great service provider and an asset to the village, the overall vision was that Wrigley Mill, together with Kiln Green and the band club have the potential to offer superb community provision for Diggle.
With this in mind a coffee morning was held to enable a dialogue to take place between all interested parties. Once again this was well attended and lots of ideas were put forward about what people would like to see happen should the Mill become a thriving centre meeting the needs of Diggle community. A vision of that is now being established as I write, because we have to be clear at the outset about what it is that we as a community want when we apply for funding. If anyone reading this has anything to offer in terms of surveying, building and building regulations, architecture or has a vision in mind for activities then don’t hesitate to contact the DCA website via e-mail.
Many exciting ideas have been put forward from Badminton courts to baby clinics! However a point was made that in order to attract funding we should target groups in Diggle and the activities and services would follow from that. With this in mind we thought that we should particularly aim for young people, older people and community services such as baby clinics, playgroups and so on, in one side of the building whilst the other side would be ideal for a community shop and cafe. A group of us went to look at the Slaithwaite community greengrocers and the Handmade Bakery as these have been established as cooperatives and offer a fantastic service to the community ie. training for local people, jobs and great bread to name but a few.
We also had a trip to Meltham to look at a community shop which has made a very significant contribution to village life. Residents bring in household goods they no longer use, which are then sold for a small fee and the profits ploughed back into the community. People who live or work in the village are able to apply for grants as the community shop does raise a substantial amount of money. This is not intended in any way to compete with existing businesses in Diggle but offers an environmentally friendly way of recycling and raising money too.
There are a plethora of other great ideas on the vision board but we want Diggle folk to have their say. Send us an e-mail if you have anything you would like to add or if you would like to offer your skills whatever they are! Get involved for Diggles sake! Contact the WMCAG through the DCA website at wwwdigglevillage.org.uk or e-mail Diggle news.