A fundraising campaign has been launched to save a “treasured” Chesham community centre, which faces the threat of closure by the council.

The Belmont Club, built by residents in the area in the 1950s on land donated to the community, could be closed by Chiltern District Council in September this year.

Due to a backlog of rent owed to the council from when the building was used as a working men's club, residents must raise £8,500 to prevent it from closing.

On top of this, locals want to collect an extra £3,000 so they can change it into a sports and social club, which can be used by all of the community.

The hall is currently hired for private receptions and is used for bingo

The centre, a club for men since the 1980s, is currently used as a bar and its hall is used for receptions, private events and bingo.

Once renovated, residents hope The Belmont Club can be used for scouts, guides and other community activities during the day and night.

Cat Townsend, 41, of Chesham, said it would be "heartbreaking" to lose a building which was at the "heart of the community for so many years".

Locals hope the field and building can be used for scout and guide groups

She said: "We want people to still be able to use the club, it would be heartbreaking to lose such an asset which could be put to such good use in the community.

“We could have a kids' club in during the day and keep the bar in the evening, but we need the extra money to make the changes to make the building child-friendly.

“A lot of people, many of the older generation, would be so upset if it was lost to the council – the bingo night is often the only night some of the older ladies leave their homes.”

Can you help with the fundraising?

If the club raised the money needed to pay off rent and change its current club status, the centre would be eligible for grants, which would allow for further refurbishment.

Currently, the building has sharp corners and concrete surfaces inside but local companies have pledged to contribute building materials needed to make it child-friendly.

Ms Townsend appealed to residents in Chesham to help "protect this land" from being converted by Paradigm and the council.

She added: "The club has such a lovely atmosphere, once you're there you can't help falling in love with it, it's like walking in to see your family.

“We need something like this up the hill in Chesham, more than we need houses or whatever would be built in its place.

“It really would break my heart to see the community hub go.”

"It would be heartbreaking to lose such an asset"

A family-friendly barbecue is being held on Saturday (July 15) from 12pm till late at the centre to help raise funds. There will be food, drink and a raffle.

The event, which is free to attend, is open to anyone and there will be a disco in the hall during the evening.

For more information, contact The Belmont Club on 01494 772139 or go to their fundraising page to donate.