A move to secure the future of a much-valued community centre in the heart of Hakin and Hubberston was approved by Pembrokeshire County Council's cabinet on Monday.

The facility has been under threat of closure ever since Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC) transferred the youth club to the new centre at the Meads.

On Monday cabinet agreed to lease the building to the Hakin and Hubberston community centre's Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).

The organisation will run the centre with support of the council for six months, at the end of this period there will be the option of releasing the centre to the charity, subject to conditions.

Cabinet members Sue Perkins expressed shock that the centre was still being funded by the youth service, despite cuts to other services such as Prince's Trust.

"I was extremely upset when I realised the youth service was still paying for this building," she said. "Funding is very very difficult. To then find out that the youth service has been funding this building. It's quite a large amount of money. What I want to know is where we go from here."

Director for children and schools, Kate Evan Hughes, said the payments were in line with council policy on vacating buildings.

Cllr Viv Stoddart, who has campaigned for the retention of the centre, said that centre should not cos the authority any more money; the charity would cover the expenses for the next six months through lottery funding and there was a safety net of more funding if needed after that.

She added: "There is a tremendous appetite within the community to keep the centre open. Physically it's located in the centre of the communities. Emotionally it's a focus for people's activities and hosts a range of activities for all ages, from the very young to a luncheon club for senior citizens."

Cabinet members voted to provide the charity with a six month lease for the centre with the option of transferring the asset at the end of this period, subject to a report coming back to cabinet in September.

"I always welcome situations like this," said deputy leader, Keith Lewis. "Where we get the community taking ownership of a solution to their problems.

"I am quite reassured about the funding structure you have in place, there is a safety net going forward. It is really positive when we see communities taking hold of their futures and this authority is unburdened of the costs."

Speaking after cabinet, councillors Mike and Viv Stoddart said they were delighted

Further report to cabinet to be received in September so that we can take action accordingly.

"This is the best possible outcome for the community," Said Viv Stoddart. "The six month period will give us time to promote the centre as a focus for all the many activities that we know from surveys are valued by the residents of Hakin and Hubberston.

"We would like to thank all the volunteers, trustees, and supporters who have worked so hard and for so long to reach this point.

"In addition to financial support from Invest Local, we have also had the benefit of the advice and expertise of the council's Rachel Gibby and Vanessa John of PAVS."

Hakin councillor Mike Stoddart told the Mercury that the trustees are actively looking for new users.

"Our priority will be the re-introduction of the senior citizens' luncheon club and youth facilities," he said.

"In addition to the current activities, there are plans to set up a short mat bowls club and to promote the use of the centre for private functions."

He said the support from the community had been fantastic and that he was delighted that the hard work of the trustees, who have been meeting regularly for over a year to plan the future of the centre, and volunteers had been rewarded.

Any local residents who have ideas for potential activities, or who wish to volunteer their assistance should get in touch with the secretary at viv.stoddart@gmail.com or tel 01646 692758.