Ilkley’s Clarke Foley Community Centre has launched a last ditch scheme to raise funds after warning that spiralling costs could force it to close permanently.

The new Friends of Clarke Foley initiative will be formally unveiled on Friday in an effort to raise vital money for the popular centre.

Business Manager Joe Short said that running costs have “increased dramatically” and if the charity does not act now the centre “will eventually close completely”.

Mr Short said: “We are a unique facility that exists only because of the kindness and generosity of local brother and sister, James Clarke and Sarah Foley.

“Their bequest made the building of this facility possible. 42 years on from opening its doors, we continue to strive to carry out their wishes.

“Over the years the facility has evolved from a Day Centre to a hustling, bustling Community Centre with a café and several rooms which are hired out to the Community.

“The costs of running this building have increased dramatically in recent years. Heating, lighting, staffing, and maintenance costs mean that our café, room hire, and catering operations all lose money.

“We are now having to take money out of our reserve fund on a monthly basis just to keep the Centre running. If we don’t act and reach out for support now, our reserves will run out and The Clarke Foley Centre will eventually close completely. We are not going to let that happen, and we are acting.”

The charity is already taking steps to cut costs including amalgamating kitchens to increase cafe capacity, improving their equipment, and strengthening and maximising their catering activities.

Mr Short added: “We are introducing a range of new events into our annual schedule to bring as many people as possible through the doors to see what a wonderful community facility this is. We are upgrading our signage to improve the exterior appearance of the building and better advertise the facilities we have available.

“We are upgrading our website to improve our online presence and reach more people. We are building a new outdoor café seating area to expand our café capacity and improve the outside appearance. We have upgraded the audio-visual equipment in our Large Hall to make this a modern and versatile venue that can be used by all for a variety of events.

“We are investing in the facilities to broaden, increase, and improve our offer. But now we need your help.”

To become a Friend, there is an annual membership fee of £30 a year, which works out at just 8p a day, to help support the charity and its activities. There are range of benefits including a quarterly FOCF newsletter, early-bird access to all ticketed events in the Clarke Foley Events Programme, as well as an invitation to an annual Friends Thank You Event where members will be informed of all the wonderful things they have helped to achieve that year.

There will also be a corporate membership option for Businesses which is £250 per year. Benefits of this membership include logo space on the Clarke Foley Website homepage and in email signatures, social media acknowledgements, and the opportunity to take part in volunteering opportunities at the Centre throughout the year.

Mr Short said: “When you become a friend of Clarke Foley, you’ll be supporting a diverse range of individuals, groups, organisations, and local businesses that use our facilities daily. Each group, in their own way, provides physical, social, and mental health benefits to their attendees.

“In addition to our Community Café, our building is the home of lunch clubs, multiple exercise classes, dance classes, numerous social and support groups, a variety of educational classes and talks, musical and orchestral groups, advice and information sessions, fairs, sales, exhibitions, meetings and more.

“Supporting Clarke Foley means supporting a hub and second home that branches out and touches the whole Community. Being a Friend of Clarke Foley helps make all of the above possible. If you appreciate the value of the Clarke Foley Centre and would like this facility to be available to future generations, then please consider becoming a Friend today.”

More information can be found at, on 07442 261462, or leaflets are available to pick up in the Centre.