Arrest in probe into centre cash

Plea: Space centre manager Alison Shorrock and fundraiser Hilary Holden are asking for help
Plea: Space centre manager Alison Shorrock and fundraiser Hilary Holden are asking for help
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A woman has been arrested over allegations of fraud against a Preston charity.

The 51-year-old was arrested in Dunblane in Scotland in connection with a fraud probe at The Space Centre, a charity which works with people with severe disabilities in Ashton.

A Lancashire police spokesman said the woman was being questioned by police in Preston yesterday.

The Evening Post reported in October last year how the centre, on Pedders Lane, could be faced with closure if it cannot plug an £800,000 funding black hole.

In March 2011, Space bosses bought the building next door to create better facilities for the disabled adults and youngsters who use its sensory rooms and gardens.

Staff and trustees were told more than £800,000 in grants had been secured for work on the new centre, but the money never materialised, leaving them with debts for part-finished building and design work.

Devastated employees and volunteers then launched a desperate fundraising appeal to help keep the centre going.

Centre manager Alison Shorrock said they had brought in around £55,000 so far but still have a long way to go.

She said: “It has been such a difficult time for everyone.

“The public support is what has kept us going.

“What has touched us is people calling at the door with unwanted gifts and donations.

“There was another chap who produced a Google virtual tour to put on our website.

“People have been really wonderful, I cannot thank them enough.

“No-one wants to see Space go under and everyone is doing what they can in their own way.

“Half a million pounds is such a massive target to save the building but every pound gets us nearer to that.

“We are soldiering on.”

Alison added the families who rely on the Space Centre were “horrified” at the thought of losing the facility.

She said: “It’s a lifeline for them. For a lot of families with kids who are severely immobile or severely autistic there are no other places to go.

“It’s part of their weekly routine to come to Space as a family and meet with other parents.

“That’s what Space is about: not performing miracles but adding some quality of life.”

The centre is planning several fundraising events, including a cabaret night at Preston Grasshoppers club March 22 and a gala ball at The Villa on June 7.

n To donate to the Space Centre or find out how you can help, call Hilary on 01772 760403 or log on to