Thursday, 11 February 2010

New council one stop centre opens in Garforth

Caption: images of the new Garforth Library and One Stop Centre. Featured is local resident Heather Baker (right) talking to customer service officer Pat Greenhill

Talking to and asking questions of Leeds City Council will be a much more pleasurable experience in Garforth from today.

It’s because the council’s new one stop centre has opened in the town.

It has moved a few feet across the road from its old home and is now under the same roof as Garforth library.

The building has been extended and completely refurbished thanks to a grant of £1.4 million from the Big Lottery Fund.

During the planning stages, ideas suggested by users of the old one stop centre, were incorporated into the new design.

That means there is now enough room to include private areas where confidential or personal matters can be dealt with.

In addition, there is a space where drinks can be served and it’s hoped the centre will also be open longer in future.

The building itself has been constructed with the environment in mind.

Solar panels have been fitted which will generate hot water, the roof has been covered in grass in order to act as an insulation barrier and attract wildlife, and special ‘light tunnels’ have been installed to get as much natural light as possible into the building which will keep energy costs down.

Garforth’s one stop centre is one of 15 across the city handling a range of queries about council services including housing matters, questions about social care, benefits and council tax bills.

At the new Garforth centre, there is also a welfare rights service, which runs surgeries for people who need help and assistance about what benefits they might be entitled to and how to apply for them. Births and deaths can also be registered at one stop centres, but by appointment only. One stops also act as reporting points for hate crimes.

Councillor Richard Brett, Leeds City Council's joint leader and executive board member with responsibility for one stop centres said:
“The centre in Garforth has been absolutely transformed.

“The council deals with many thousands of queries each year and it’s only right that we make it as easy and as pleasurable as possible for people to visit us.

“Being under the same roof as the fantastic new library makes perfect sense.

“I’m also really pleased that we been able to incorporate suggestions for improvement made by users of the old centre – they’ve asked and we’ve worked hard to deliver.”

Notes to Editors

Garforth one stop centre's opening times are:
Monday - 9am to 5pm
Tuesday - 9am to 5pm
Wednesday – 9am to 3pm
Thursday – 9am to 5pm
Friday – 9am to 5pm

For media enquiries please contact:
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council (0113) 247 4450