A RESIDENTS' focal point has undergone a transformation.

Ayresome Community Centre, in Middlesbrough, started life in an old disused mobile classroom in a school yard.

At a cost of £200,000 - much of it European and National Lottery money - the centre now has an information technology (IT) suite and is housed inside Ayresome Primary School.

"We now have a superb facility for all the community," said Tony Asplant, chairman of Ayresome Community Enterprise (Ace). "It is a far cry from those early days in a draughty hut."

The University of Teesside runs ten courses from the centre, which also acts as a drop-in centre for residents and offers a range of leisure facilities.

Lynn Limon, the centre's full-time worker, said: "In an average day we will have about 100 people coming through the doors, using the facilities.

"The centre just couldn't function without the residents and it is their input which makes the centre so accessible and welcoming.''

Ward councillor Ken Walker, who officially opened the centre, said: "I have been proud to be associated with the work of residents who have built ACE up from next to nothing to one of the town's most successful facilities.''