CAMELFORD's leisure centre has been saved from closure – and now local people are being urged to use it and ensure its survival.
The news came this week after a business plan devised by a local committee persuaded Cornwall Council not to close the centre, which incorporates a swimming pool and sports hall.
Now the final touches are being put to plans for the community to take over the running of the centre by the end of this year.
The community-based plans, developed by Camelford Leisure Centre Steering Group, the council and the Friends of Camelford Leisure Centre, will see the operation of the centre transferred from Carrick Leisure to a new industrial provident society early in December.
Further work will take place over the next two months in order to put everything in place ready for the handover.
"This is great news for the people of Camelford and the surrounding area," said mayor Rob Rotchell, chairman of the Camelford Leisure Centre Steering Group.
"It's the culmination of two years' hard work by a small group of local people and staff from Cornwall Council.
"We're grateful for the help we've been given and look forward to developing this vital local resource.
"In the next few weeks we'll be publishing the new programme of activities and I urge the people of Camelford to use the leisure centre to ensure its long-term future."
The employment contracts of all the current staff end on December 10 and it is possible that they will then have to apply for jobs with the new employers.
Cornwall Council's Cabinet decided a year ago not to include the centre in the charitable trust which was set up to run leisure services.
However, it said if an acceptable business plan was ready by the end of 2011 it would consider funding and operational support beyond the cut-off date of March 31, 2012 – six months ago.
Neil Burden, the portfolio holder for Children's Services, said: "This highlights how local communities and Cornwall Council can work together to secure local services in a challenging financial environment.
"Part of the funding is coming from Children's Services which is guaranteeing £30,000 a year for the next two years."
Councillors Keith Goodenough, Glenton Brown and John Lugg were also pleased with the progress, saying in a joint statement: "The community has pulled together to keep the leisure centre open and we would like to recognise the considerable efforts of those individuals and groups who have made this transfer a reality. What has been achieved so far is quite astounding."
Dave Ferrett, chairman of the Friends of Camelford Leisure Centre, said: "We're delighted with the news. We can now all move forward with confidence supporting the leisure centre management in providing this valuable community asset."