A PROJECT to expand and improve a Victorian community centre has received a cash boost.

Earlier this summer, Framwellgate Moor Community Association leaders signed an asset transfer deal to lease their community centre, on Front Street, Framwellgate Moor, Durham City, from Durham County Council for 30 years at a peppercorn rent.

The deal cleared the way for the council to begin £200,000-worth of repairs later this year.

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But association bosses also want to re-configure the U-shaped building, creating a link corridor, community and internet cafe and more.

It is hoped this would help the facility become self-sustaining.

The cost of the project has not yet been worked out but the association has now secured £72,000 from the Social Investment Business to carry out a full study.

This follows a ‘pre-feasibility report’ carried out last year.

Association chairman Colin Hillary said: “The aim is to complete a fully designed and costed proposal and use it as a basis to start serious fundraising to bring the dream to reality.”

Consultation with the public is planned for October, ahead of any plans being finalised.

Mr Hillary said: “Everyone will be welcomed from those who have ideas and comments to those who are merely curious and want to come along to see the proposed plans and chat with the trustees about the future of the community centre.”

The centre faced the threat of closure on 2011, after the council included the centre on a list of community buildings earmarked to receive no further funding. However, the number of users increased and the facility was given a reprieve.