BUILDING work has started on a new £730,000 community centre for a village.

A turf cutting ceremony has taken place at the new centre being built in the grounds of Burnhope Primary School, will feature a large activity hall, kitchen, meeting room, toilets and a fitness suite.

Volunteers raised the money for the Burnhope Community Centre from a variety of charitable trusts, Durham County Council’s Mid-Durham Area Action Partnership, local councillors and the Big Lottery Fund, which is paying to train local people to run the centre.

Cllr Ossie Johnson, one of the county councillors to provide funding said: “This has been a long time coming with a lot of hard work put in by a small number of committed volunteers over the last ten years.

“It’s great to see local people so enthused and with over 25 local volunteers coming forward to help, the future of the centre looks bright.

“Burnhope is a small rural community and we hope this centre provides residents of all ages with the opportunity to get together socially and improve their wellbeing.”

Work is scheduled to be finished in time for the centre to open in May 2018.