WITH funding cuts across the UK many community centres have been forced to close.

But despite shortages in revenue, Burnley Wood Community Centre is going from strength to strength.

The centre in Springfield Road, Burnley is one of the few remaining historical buildings left in the area, in which a a large number of houses were demolished during the past decade under the Elevate regeneration programme.

The building opened originally as a Sunday School in 1881, and over the years has housed local companies and community groups.

Last year, the building came back into the hands of Burnley Council, which alongside local community partners, has transformed it into a multi-purpose activity centre for all ages.

A number of grants have enabled an old classroom to be transformed into a community lounge, with leather settees, TV, a music system, a library corner and a children’s play corner.

In the past few weeks Tesco has given £4,000 from its community fund to refurbish the kitchen. There are plans to exchange current domestic appliances for commercial ones with new stainless steel sinks and a large six burner double oven, for use for the community cafe and luncheon club.

The centre runs a number weekly activities including a children’s teddy bears picnic, boxercise class, a luncheon club, bingo, a children’s movie evening a community cafe and children's disco.

Centre manager, Karen Heseltine, said: “We began life as the Dall Street Residents’ Association nine years ago. About three years later we started running community activities using a smaller building.

“Now we have around 200 to 300 people who use the centre on a weekly basis.

“We have already done the kitchen up once, but we didn’t have the money to buy commercial equipment.

“The new lounge has been a huge asset. It’s used so much, as we did not have a community lounge space in the area and now people come to have a chat with friends, in a warm, safe environment. We hold many activities during the week for all ages as well as other events such as pensioners’ birthdays, Hallowe’en and Christmas parties.

“Several youngsters with learning disabilities attend and their parents told us of the huge improvements they are seeing in their speech and social skills.”

For more information about events and activities run by Burnley Wood Community Centre visit www.burnleywood communitycentre.com