It has been a long road to recovery, but volunteers at one community centre can finally celebrate reopening after being devastated by floods more than three years ago.

Downagate Community Centre, in Warwick Bridge, near Carlisle, was ravaged when Storm Desmond hit Cumbria in December 2015.

For much of the time since then, the centre's future has looked uncertain when it suffered blow after blow as it looked to rebuild.

The much-loved centre took a battering during both Storm Desmond - which saw 1.5m of water come in - and the floods which hit the county in 2005.

Since Storm Desmond members of the community have fought tooth and nail to get the building, home to Warwick Wanderers Football Club, reopened and made fit for purpose.

Kevin Dobinson, chairman of Downagate Community Centre, has worked with volunteers and members of the community to raise the £300,000 needed to get the mammoth project complete.

One of the biggest injection of funds came in the form of grant for £99,200 from the national sports charity the Football Foundation, allowing renovation to start on the new and improved centre.

Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This is one example we want to make people in Cumbria aware of, that they have the kind of quality pitches and changing rooms that are taken for granted in other counties.

“We will continue to support projects nationwide, but we cannot do this on our own, so we are encouraging organisations in the area to join our movement to deliver quality football facilities for people in Cumbria once and for all.”

After years of hard work, the doors of the centre could finally reopen on Sunday. It was a proud moment for Mr Dobinson, who added: “It’s a relief now that we have finally done it. It has been a lot of hard work, by a lot of people.

“We’re so pleased, it’s better than we expected now that we can see it finished. Lots of people have been desperate for this to open for years and I’m sure after it is open they will see what a good job has been done.”

With flooding in mind, big changes were made to the centre itself. The main part of the facility has been moved up a level, creating a second storey, meaning they now have the main hall, kitchen and pantry upstairs less at risk of flooding.

On the lower level there are four team changing rooms and two officials’ changing rooms. The way it has been designed, should it flood again, will mean it will be a quicker clean-up helping the community to have access to it again more easily.

It isn’t only the football teams that will be benefitting, community groups including the Women’s Institute, Toddler Sensory, Holme Eden Church and Warwick Bridge Primary School all use the site for regular sessions.

Support for the centre has come from various directions, including the Mayor of Carlisle, Jessica Riddle.

At the opening ceremony she said: “It’s absolutely wonderful and it must be such a relief when the river is high that you’re above water, it makes such a difference.”

Footballing enthusiast, Jack Stott, a seven-year-old Warwick Wanderer player, said: “It’s really good to have it open and it looks nice inside so it will be nice when we play football here.” Emma Stott, 39, Jack's mum, said: “It’s great for the community, it’s great for the football team, it’s just really good.”

Mr Dobinson continued: “People from the community will find that it’s a centre that is going to meet their needs in the future. It’s a lot more inviting than the old one and user friendly we’re expecting great things. It's been a lot of hard work, it's been challenging but if it wasn’t for the hard work and determination of the community it would have never reopened."