CELEBRATIONS are in full swing after an announcement that Hyndburn has scooped £1.38 million to transform the New Era building into an all-purpose community centre.

The Millennium Commission grant will turn the building in Paradise Street, Accrington, into a social and training centre for all sections of the community.

Erected in the 1920s, the building has been a dance hall, a cinema, a British Restaurant offering mass catering during the war and a works' social club.

As a community centre around 1,000 people a day will pass through its doors.

The successful bid was developed jointly by the county council, the borough council, the Asian Community Forum, Citizens Advice Bureaux and Council for Voluntary Service.

The project had already won the backing of the Pakistan High Commission who praised the scheme for promoting racial harmony in Hyndburn.

Khalid Hussain, chairman of the Asian Community Forum, said: "This is wonderful news for the Asian community"

George Garlick, strategy officer and mastermind of the bid, said: "This is a moment of great personal pleasure for me, as I'm sure it is for everybody on the team."

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