PEOPLE are being offered greater community support through the creation of a £130,000 community centre.

The Thirsk Community Care Association is expanding its efforts for local organisations by creating a centre in the heart of the town.

The group has demolished four derelict garages to make way for the building. It will have a large meeting room for use by community groups and organisations, as well as four small offices, which will be available for hire.

The charitable organisation bought its current Market Place premises two years ago with help from the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward.

The centre has been funded from the association's reserves, with match-funding from the Single Regeneration Budget.

It has also received a £18,200 grant from Yorventure, which is backed by Northallerton-based waste management firm Yorwaste.

Association manager Gill Middleton said: "The new meeting room and office space will be a fantastic asset and sets us up brilliantly for the future. It will enable us to foster greater links with local groups, provide the space needed to get more projects off the ground and make us more sustainable as an organisation."

Work on the community centre is under way and should be completed in early June.

It will have disabled access and toilets and will be available to anyone in the Hambleton and Richmondshire areas.

"We're aiming to gear costs just to cover our overheads so nobody should be excluded from the facilities for financial reasons," added Ms Middleton.

"If we can operate at full capacity we may even be able to generate funds to help set up new support groups in the area."

The Yorventure grant is being used to free-up the association's own funds to create a post of community empowerment officer, who will further develop links with the local community.