EFFORTS to save a community centre have received a huge boost after £10,000 of funding was pledged.

Fundraisers are trying to raise £24,680 so the Witham Community Hub can pay for the lease for the unit it uses at the Newland Shopping Centre.

It has now raised £13,467 thanks to donations from businesses, residents and the cash from Essex County Council.

A spokesman for County Hall said: “We are delighted to have been able to support such a great cause through our Local Connections Fund and pleased to see the difference it is making to the local community in Witham.

“The hub has already seen a number of bookings and significant interest from individuals and organisations who want to use it.”

Tina Townsend, of the Witham Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s wonderful news, it’s a real boost and it means that we’re over halfway there now.”

For the past five years it has been used by the town free of charge thanks to centre owner New River Retail, and run by Witham Boys Brigade.

Now all the other units in the centre have been let, New River Retail has said it will start charging £20,000 - a heavily discounted lease for two years.

Mrs Townsend added: “Unfortunately Braintree Council have said they won’t be making a donation which is really disappointing but we just need to keep going.”

A spokesman for Braintree Council said: “We will continue to support Witham Community Hub to find a long term sustainable base in the Witham area.

“In relation to funding streams, the council has the Councillors’ Community Grants Scheme which is designed to be supportive and responsive for organisations and groups delivering community projects.

“Each councillor has a £1,500 annual allocation to spend on projects that will benefit residents of their ward.

“Community360 is the community and voluntary support organisation for the district and can provide further information relating to funding streams and provide support in applying for them.”

Visit www.spacehive.com/save-our-community-hub.