A STRUGGLING community centre has been saved by a £10,000 grant.

The Old Boat Corner Community Centre in Carden Hill, Hollingbury, Brighton, was supported financially by the social club at the same venue – but that closed.

Liz Clift, chairman of the Old Boat Corner Association, said: “We have a great support system and our MPs really pulled together and helped the centre.

“MPs wrote a letter on behalf of the application to the council.

“We are very optimistic that, with the council’s help, the centre can become self-sufficient in a very short time.

“Lee Wares, the Conservative prospective councillor, was very helpful during this time.”

Run by volunteers, the centre has depended largely on donations from the council, residents and larger organisations.

Mrs Clift added: “The centre is undergoing various refurbishments and improvements in the pipeline to help make it a family oriented facility for residents.

“British Gas is doing a survey for the centre to help in cutting the electricity costs, which is the biggest expense.”

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald, who holds his council surgeries at the centre, said: “The Old Boat Corner Community Centre is a well-established, popular and vital community resource for Hollingbury.

“There is very little else comparable in the area.”

A total of 18 groups use the centre, with 385 people passing through the doors each week.

This includes the Together Group, Brownies, Guides and Rainbows, a youth club, football club, dance club, Sama Karate, kick-boxing club, card-making and after-school clubs.

“It is very much a community hub,” Coun Theobald added.

“Last month I, and my fellow ward councillors were able to assist the association in their bid to Brighton and Hove City Council for £10,000 of grant funding to help them get back on their feet again after the recent closure of the centre’s social club.”

The Old Boat Corner Community Centre’s cafe has now extended its opening hours to include weekends and it is planning to start opening after school in the better weather.

Linda Saltwell, chief executive of The Trust for Developing Communities, said: “TDC has supported groups and activities in Hollingbury since 2006 and the Old Boat is an integral part of the community.”

“It has the most dedicated committee, led by Liz Clift and made up of local people who all believe passionately in the need for the centre and give their time voluntarily to keep the place going.”

“I am so pleased to be part of an organisation supporting this committee and wish them every success with their future ventures.”