A COMMUNITY centre in the Ribble Valley could be forced to close if more volunteers are not found next week.

The centre, based at the Old Grammar School in Station Road, Whalley, is currently run by five trustees but more volunteers are needed if the facility is to be kept open past this year.

A public meeting has been organised for Wednesday at 7pm at the centre where current trustees hope to encourage residents to get involved.

Ribble Valley Borough councillor Terry Hill, who is a trustee, said that if a ‘Friends Group’ wasn’t established the centre could have no choice but to close.

The community centre is housed in the Grade II-listed former grammar school which was built in 1725 and extended in the early 19th century.

It had been leased by Lancashire County Council since 2006 but they pulled out in October last year citing budget cuts.

It had previously been run by Accrington and Rossendale College since the early 2000s.

The building ceased to be a school in the 1880s and was converted to the Whalley Education and Community Centre in March 1914.

The centre currently houses art and vegetable growing groups alongside a preschool and driver theory lessons and the local WI.

Coun Hill said: “My hope is that members of the public come forward on Wednesday and help us set up a new group to help with the running of the centre.

“We have applied for a grant from the borough council and the parish council has already given us £4,000 towards the running costs.

“We have actually managed to increase footfall recently and 150 people came through the door in February.

“The problem is the centre will not survive without more people getting involved to help run it because too much responsibility is currently resting with only a small number of people.

“We have cut a lot of costs since Lancashire County Council pulled out and have cut down considerably on the heating and water bills which were frightening and ridiculous.”