THE long term future of a community centre axed by Clacks Council looks secure after hardy volunteers secured funding to buy the building.

Tullibody Community Development Trust is to receive a “transformational” grant of more than £290,000 from the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) to buy Tullibody Civic Centre and keep facilities alive for townsfolks.

An operating license has been in place to allow the trust to kickstart activities and to keep the doors open, however, volunteers were not able to access certain parts of the building such as the sports hall due to issues with the roof.

And ambitions for an outright purchase were raised last September with hopes to carry out repairs; the sports hall has always been an important element of plans to take the building into full community ownership.

At that time, the issue was the trust was unable to obtain a price tag from the local authority in order to apply for funds, however, councillors agreed a sum on December 19 behind closed doors, with information from the Scottish Land Fund saying the building will be sold at a discount.

Janet Gowran, a trustee at Tullibody Community Development Trust, said: “The funding from Scottish Land Fund is transformational for Tullibody.

“The civic centre, which was due for closure by the local authority, until we, as a trust stepped in to keep it open, we can now move forward with a far more secure long term future.

“The centre is at the heart of the community and now it will be owned in effect by the community.”

Recently, the volunteers also secured funding to launch a café and community hub and the Coalfields Regeneration Trust also chipped in to help employ a café assistant.

There are a range of groups already making good use of the facilities already available with the number of activities growing; for instance with the addition of beginners’ Italian classes starting later this month.

Outreach drop-ins from the likes of Clacks Citizens Advice or Ochil View, fitness classes, the toddlers’ group and family table tennis sessions are just some of the activities that have been proving popular at the centre.

With the purchase of the building, the trust is looking to re-develop the premises and there is a long journey ahead.

Janet added: “The centre provides much needed social identity, interaction and cohesion through the diverse array of activities it provides to a wide range of users.

“Becoming owners provides the potential for further community development, with our ultimate aim of re-developing the whole building.

“That is a long journey but the SLF has enabled us to move ahead significantly on it.

“On behalf of our members, over 900 of them and the whole Tullibody community, we thank SLF for the support they have given us."