A GROUP of trustees from Lifton has been granted £565,000 to build a community centre in the village, after over 20 years of fundraising efforts.

Chairman of the Lifton Community Centre trustees Tony Phillips said the grant from the Big Lottery Reaching Small Communities Fund was 'fantastic' and that he hoped it would create a place to bring the whole community back together.

In 1994 Lifton Parish Appraisal identified a need for a community centre, by 1995 a board of trustees was formed and the project was granted charitable status.

The original plan was to refurbish the Church Hall but further research revealed that grants could only be obtained if the land was owned by the applicants.

In 1998, the group found a site on which the community centre could be built, which, in its central location, opposite the Arundell Arms pub, was considered a prime location.

However, the group faced a flurry of issues in securing the land, which meant it didn't obtain ownership until 2006.

Tony Phillips said: 'We had done a lot of fundraising by this point. Vin Marshall and Kevin Marshall raised money running marathons, we organised magic shows, Lifton fetes and car boot sales. We were beginning to wonder if we would ever succeed.'

In 2009 the total funds raised for the community centre were £20,000, meaning the project was able to appoint architect, Steve Whettem, from Tavistock.

Tony said Steve's help had been 'invaluable'.

Three plans were drawn up and presented to the public to pick the most popular option.

The final plan was completed and planning permission was granted in 2012.

In 2013, the site was used to host car boot sales.

The board also applied for the first phase of the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund.

Shortly after the community centre team learnt that it was successful and applied for the second phase.

Later in 2014, the team was once again successful and applied for the final stage.

To enable the final application, the big lottery provided a grant of £20,000.

Tony praised local resident Mandy Kenyon for completing the applications for the lottery fund.

The centre, which will span three quarters of an acre, will be a two storey building with a main hall suitable for sporting events.

Meeting rooms and offices will provide space for local organisations and outside will be a multipurpose car park which can hold 30-40 cars and outside events.

Mr Phillips said: 'It's such a central location, meaning no-one will have to travel very far. It will be helpful having services provided in the village, instead of people having to travel to Tavistock and Launceston, especially young families.'

Despite the generous grant from the big lottery fund, Phillip says the project has only obtained two thirds of the money needed.

With six months to apply for the final funds the board plans to reapply to some of the organisations that originally said no.

Mr Phillips added: 'The rector in Lifton will be holding a garden party on Saturday (June 27) to spread the news of the project and inform everyone of what will be happening.

'It has been such a long time getting there, I still can't quite believe it.'