THE trustees of a community centre in need of vital roof repairs is calling on the public to help “secure its long-term future”.

Avonway, in Fordingbridge, is set to launch a fundraising campaign and says the repairs are likely to cost in excess of £50,000 as its roof would have to be replaced with slate rather than a modern and cheaper alternative due to its location in a conservation area.

The centre’s chairman Chris Calder, said: “So many people have worked so hard to create the vibrant community centre that is Avonway.

“We appeal to the people of Fordingbridge to help us secure its long-term future.”

Avonway’s newsletter said: “Regular users will know that over the last 15 years Avonway has been transformed; it has taken a lot of money and involved a lot of effort in fundraising and sheer hard graft to achieve this, and now it is all threatened because we need a new roof.

“Recent leaks mean we have had to redo areas previously renovated instead of putting the money towards further improvements.”

The centre hosts more than 30 community groups and charities, including the Rae Straton Luncheon Club and Fordingbridge Day Centre.

Maureen Burt, of Fordingbridge Day Centre, said Avonway was “vitally” important to users, adding: “It is a community centre and it is for everyone. It holds the community together, places like this, otherwise it gets very fractured and there is no cohesion.”

“It means an awful lot [to the day centre users]. It does get them out of their own four walls and they are given the opportunity to interact with others which is very important in this day and age.” she said

Jean Loader, who is involved in the Rae Straton Luncheon Club and Fordingbridge Stroke Club, added: ”Really and truly where are you going to have the facilities that you have got here to be honest? There is a nice big room and people can come in on their scooters and in their wheelchairs.”

The centre will also be seeking grants to boost fundraising efforts. For more details call 01425 652706