VOLUNTEERS at a popular Southampton community centre are celebrating after realising a “lifelong ambition” to find a new home.

Lordshill Community Association has been holding events in a pre-f abri-ca ted building in Andromeda Road for 40 years.

But now after years of work , they are preparing to move into a new, permanent site after signing a deal with Southampton City Council.

The group will move into a new building being crea ted as part of the £1.7m restoration of the nearby Oaklands Pool in Fairisle Road.

The association plans to move in April before its former base is dismantled to make way for a housing development on the site .

Association leaders hailed the plans at a presentation afternoon on Thursday where they donated cash to two local charities.

Community centre chairman Mike Holder said the plans fulfilled a “lifelong ambition” to operate from a permanent home, adding: “The move will give us the opportunity to recruit new groups and possibly a pre-school, as well as the chance to work closely in partnership with the swimming pool and the council.

“It will greatly enhance our ability to obtain funding to improve the quality, services, and support we can offer the community.”

The current centre houses groups covering a range of activities including dance, karate, ju-jitsu, bridge and street dance.

Council leader Cllr Simon Letts congratulated the association as it donated £400 to Victim Support and £100 to wheelchair dance club Solent Wheelers.

He said: “We were very keen for the association to continue its work.

These are people giving up their time for the benefit of Southampton.”

John Bayl iss, 66, from Portswood, who regularly attends a pensioners’ lunch club at the centre, added: “The club is an opportunity for me to get out of the house.

“If the new place has more space for cooking facilities then that is brilliant."