THE Bentham Hub has raised £35,000 in three months to buy the town's former community centre after having to move quickly out of its current premises. 

Situated in High Bentham, the hub is run by volunteers. It sells second-hand goods for various benefactors and in just over a year raised £43,650 to help fund charities in the area. 

In July it announced that due to 'circumstances beyond its control', it was losing its main premises and had identified Bentham's community centre, a 19th-century Quaker Friends' Meeting House, as its new home. The hub needed to raise £35,000 to add to the organisation's own funds in order to buy the property. 

£10,000 of this funding came from the Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust. 

The Westmorland Gazette: The members of the Bentham Hub with their MP Julian SmithThe members of the Bentham Hub with their MP Julian Smith (Image: Bentham Hub)

Lesley Barker, co-founder of the hub, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded a £10,000 grant from Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, which means we now have sufficient funds to buy our new home.  What a totally amazing three months we have had.  We never anticipated such a huge level of response.  We’ve had donations from near and far and it feels like the whole community is behind us.  We still have the challenge ahead of making the building fit for purpose, so today we are launching Phase 2 of our fundraising.”

Mick Reid, also from the hub, said it was a 'dream come true' to even be able to buy the property but work still needed to be done.

He said: "We’ve had a comprehensive survey of the property done and are currently in the process of seeking quotes for the required work.  At that point, we will know how much additional funds we need.  We have lots of development ideas for the building, which will form part of our longer-term vision.  However, at this stage, we want to get the property into a move-in state - it’s been empty for some time and there is some remedial work needed." 

The Hub's campaign has received wide-ranging support, including from the Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith.

He said: "Bentham Hub has achieved a huge amount for the community in a short period of time and has the promise to do so much more.  The move to a new home offers them the opportunity to deliver on that potential."