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Page last updated at 15:32 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010
Facing The Cuts: Fight for services

By Richard Crowley
BBC Wiltshire

Climbing wall at Cricklade Leisure Centre
Cricklade Leisure Centre was saved from the axe

Members of a community group that saved a Wiltshire leisure centre from closure say other communities should not be afraid to take on the running of other services threatened by council cutbacks.

As part of the BBC's Facing the Cuts series, volunteers at Cricklade Leisure centre have been recalling how they fought to save their local facility.

It was in November 2006 that the company running the sports centre on behalf of North Wiltshire District Council ran into financial troubles.

At the time, the council decided there was no other option than to close it down.

But residents of the small market town refused to give up, forming a management committee to take on the running of the centre.

Media campaign

They mounted a high profile media campaign and gained support from the wider community.

As a result in the management committee was handed the lease of the sports centre in April 2007.

Three years on, and the volunteer takeover has been a great success.

More people are using the centre, the number of activities available has been expanded, and through fundraising efforts a new climbing wall has been installed.

Now, as councils across the country are feeling the pinch of the recession, what has been achieved in Cricklade is being held up as an example of how communities can play a greater role in providing local services.

The General Manager of the Cricklade Leisure centre Gary Walker believes as long as people do their research, there is no reason why they cannot follow suit.

He told BBC Wiltshire: "If you think you can do it, you probably can. We were realistic in the way forward, but you have to realise it's a big commitment."

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