A former family support centre that has been empty for several years is now set to be revived after being handed over to the community.

The former Washacare Family Support Centre, on Washacre in Westhoughton, will now be handed over from the council to the Darren Deady Foundation.

The foundation supports former soldiers and their families and was deemed by town hall to be the best placed to run the centre.

Cllr David Wilkinson, of Westhoughton South, said: “The process was set up by independent assessors, so it wasn’t a case of Fred knows Bert, that type of thing.”

He added: “I’m just pleased that the building is going to be back in use because its just been sitting their doing nothing and we know what can happen with buildings doing nothing.”

The Bolton News: A meeting at Bolton Council decided to transfer the centre to the communityA meeting at Bolton Council decided to transfer the centre to the community (Image: Newsquest)

Cllr Wilkinson said that he believed the centre had been empty for at least five years.

It will now be passed over to the Darren Deady Foundation as part of a community asset transfer (CAT), which brings in voluntary and community organisations to run facilities previously run by the council.

Other contenders to use the site were the Farnworth and Kearsley Events Team, which runs activities for young people, Oh Sensory Me and Westhoughton Community Assist.

Previous examples have seen facilities like Rock Hall and the Sunnyside Community Centre pass into community ownership.

The council's cabinet member for regulatory services and property, Cllr Sue Haworth, approved the proposal for the Washacre centre at a meeting this week.

The meeting heard how the Darren Deady Foundation had the “know-how and capacity” to manage the site but recommended that they be given support for a business plan on how to renovate and repair the building if necessary.

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But Cllr Wilkinson has also asked if there was more the council could do to help other similar organisations.

Cllr Wilkinson said: “Darren Deady is a very worthwhile organisation, but I did say that we should be looking at how we support other worthwhile organisations.

“I’ve asked at exec meetings and at ward members meetings how we can help other organisations enter the CAT process and support those organisations.”

He added: “That’s the trouble, there’s so much demand for property and councils all over the country don’t have the money to pay for them after being hammered by the government.”