A FORMER Salvation Army base in Colne has provided sanctuary for a charity after a £23,000 refit.

Pendle Citizen's Advice Bureau received £65,000 from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund to buy and refurbish the disused citadel in Market Place - which had stood empty for almost two years.

The CAB's former premises in Duke Street has been its base in the town for the last 30 years, but has become increasingly inaccessible for the rising numbers of people seeking advice.

Bosses at the charity said today they were pleased to have been able to bring a popular community building back into use.

Pendle CAB has more than 30 volunteers who work throughout all its offices in Colne, Nelson and Barnoldswick, as well as several paid staff.

The money advice unit in Colne has received a rising number of enquiries from people with debt problems and is expected to receive more than 2,000 visitors during the next 12 months.

The citadel centre - bought for £42,000 - is already up and running but will be formally declared open by the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire Lord Shuttleworth on June 4.

Pendle CAB district manager Claire Strachan said: "We are really pleased to be able to bring such a great community building back into use.

"It had been empty for nearly two years but people who come in now tell us about all the events they have attended here in the past.

"More and more people are coming in to see us for money advice and we are seeing increasing numbers struggling with debt and now they will be able to come to the new base to get help.

"We are hoping it won't take too long for people to realise we have moved and we are certainly expecting to see more people coming in.

"We feel it's a big deal to give this building a new lease of life and bring it back into use to serve the local community."