THERE are fears that a funding shortfall could threaten the future of a Barnstaple community centre. Money earmarked to pay for urgent roof repairs at the Roundswell Community Centre now looks in doubt, leaving the centre s charitable trust facing a huge

THERE are fears that a funding shortfall could threaten the future of a Barnstaple community centre.

Money earmarked to pay for urgent roof repairs at the Roundswell Community Centre now looks in doubt, leaving the centre's charitable trust facing a huge repair bill that they say will leave them "flat broke".

Committee chairman Graham Turner said that the £15,000 roof repairs were set to be finished within two weeks but the trust would have to pay for much of the work itself after £9,000 in matched funding was left hanging in the balance.

"It will leave us with hardly anything in the bank but we've got no option," he said.

"The roof has been leaking badly ever since the day the centre was built. Because of the damp, we need to spend a further £20,000 on a new kitchen as well as £15,000 on two new boilers.

"But getting the building watertight is the first priority - it won't survive another bad winter in its current state."

The community centre - built in the mid 1990s at the same time as the adjacent Sainsbury's supermarket as part of a Section 106 developer's agreement - is used daily by local charities, slimming, church, and parent and toddler groups.

Mr Turner said that North Devon Council had agreed to release £4,500 in matched funding should the centre get the £4,500 grant it expected from the Community Council of Devon.

When the committee was told the funding was no longer available, the district council stepped in to release £6,000 emergency funding in June to get the repair work underway. The committee has raised more than £2,000 itself through its Buy a Tile scheme.

"Without the £6,000 from the council we would have been stuffed," said Mr Turner. "We would have had to shut the place down because we couldn't have withstood another winter.

"The Community Council of Devon said they will review the situation in the autumn so the funding might still come through but who knows with all these cuts going around at the moment?"

"The committee would like to say a big thank-you to the council for releasing the emergency funding.