A community centre is set to be transformed after winning almost £500,000 of Big Lottery funding.
The Ingol and Tanteron Community Trust (Intact) building, in Whitby Avenue, Ingol, Preston, will benefit from a £467,064 grant.
The cash will be used to build a two-storey extension, providing a ‘multi-purpose activity, educational and training centre’ for people of all ages.
Denise Hartley, Intact’s chief executive officer, said: “This is incredible news and a tremendous achievement.
“Everyone will benefit what will be a fantastic facility in their local community.
“The large ground floor studio will be used for a wide range of leisure and recreational activity, while the fully equipped, state of the art training room on the second floor will enable vocational and non-vocational learning activities.”
The centre, which began life as a prefabricated hut, has been extended several times, and offers a range of activities, job clubs and a community café. But this will be the biggest development yet, with a new activity room, quiet room, offices, training room, media and editing suite, store room, toilet facilities and lift access.
MCK Associates, an architectural design practice based in Fulwood, has been working with Intact since May 2012, when the group realised it was rapidly running out of space.
Martin Smith, from the firm, said: “We have worked closely together with staff and volunteers, as well as professional consultants, to obtain planning approval for this two-storey extension to the centre, which will provide them with the extra space so badly needed.
“We are now looking forward to progressing, with a start on site hopefully within the next three months.”
Intact chairman Bill Shannon said: “Everyone is delighted at this news. During the last two years 2,000 people have accessed the centre’s facilities and for many it has been a lifeline. Providing an improved community centre will continue to help to reduce isolation, increase participation and remove barriers to learning.”
Intact works with numerous partners including CAB, Community Gateway and the Police to deliver much needed services and already provides a wide range of activities and programmes, including a homework club, holiday play schemes, youth and sports clubs, sexual health advitce and a community health initiative, drop-in advice sessions and IT provision and lessons.
Grants totalling £812,544 have been awarded today by the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme.
Alison Rowe, Big Lottery Fund spokesman, said: “These Reaching Communities awards make a significant difference to each community project that receives them and can be enormously helpful right from the outset of a project, funding planning and legal processes.
“Ultimately, they can mean the difference between an older person being able to enjoy the social life afforded by a community hub rather than being lonely and isolated, or a young person enjoying healthy, sporting activities after school instead of hanging around the streets.
“Thanks to today’s awards, many more communities and individuals will benefit from targeted support.”