Whitehaven Harbour Youth Project has moved a step closer to starting a £350,000 revamp after smashing its crowdfunding target.

The charity had already secured £210,000 of pledged grants, along with about £35,000 worth of support in kind, but needed to raise £5,000 itself to secure some of it.

The project, based at Swingpump Lane, launched an online crowdfunding appeal last month. It raised £5,266 in 35 days, which will be matched by Sport England.

Now the charity is confident it can raise the outstanding cash in the coming weeks.

Gina McCabe, project manager, said: "I'd like to think that we'd have is if not in the bank then agreed by the end of March. Then we can start building by the end of June.

"We were overwhelmed with the support people gave to the crowdfunding appeal.

"It was incredible, from making the most elaborate cakes for us to sell at the Christmas fair to money from donors we wouldn't have expected money from. We had parents who gave £100.

"When you get parents, young people or members of the community who use the premises coming to you and telling you how much they value the space and giving you money that to them might as well be £10,000 it makes you feel so valued. A big thank you to everyone."

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Launched in 1996, the project works with about 1,100 people aged between seven and 25 each year. It runs 10 different weekly sessions, catering for everything from different age groups to people with special educational needs, each attracting 10 to 70 people. It is also used by other groups.

Its sports hall is well used but its age and the fact it was not built as a high-spec sports facility mean it is cold, damp and becoming unusable.

The work will see more efficient heating and lighting, and a sports-hall-quality floor installed, and the climbing wall improved and extended, allowing more young people to use it.

Storage will be improved and the project’s drying room, where outdoor equipment is dried, will be moved so things no longer have to be dried in the sports hall.

Added features, including facilities to play music via bluetooth, are also on the cards.