GROUPS and individuals are being offered greater support with the creation of a £130,000 community centre.

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

The group has already demolished four derelict garages at its premises to make way for the new building.

When completed, the centre will provide a large meeting room for use by community groups and organisations, as well as four small office spaces which will be available for hire.

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

The project to build the new facility has been funded from the association's own reserves, with match-funding from the Government's Single Regeneration Budget.

It has also received an £18,200 grant from Yorventure, which is backed by the Northallerton-based waste management company 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 new centre is under way and should be completed in early June.

The building will have disabled access and toilet facilities and will be available to anybody in the Hambleton and Richmondshire areas.

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

"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 the new post of community empowerment officer, who will further develop links with local people.