ONE of Skipton's most popular cafes and social centres has launched an urgent appeal for more volunteers to help secure its long-term future.

The Swadford Centre, on Swadford Street, is desperate for a new treasurer - but also needs more people to go along and help new manager Caren Lee with running the cafe.

It caters for the over 50s and is open five days a week, providing a range of home-cooked food, and has long been popular as a town centre meeting place.

There are currently nine committee members who help to run the centre, which also lets out a number of meeting rooms to various organisations.

Chairman Mrs Jean McCrickard said that, while there was no immediate threat to the centre, more helpers were needed to make it viable in the longer term.

She explained: "Nine committee members sounds a lot, but it's not really. There's quite a lot of work to be done so more people willing to help out on the committee would be fantastic. But we are also asking people to come along for a few hours each week, perhaps to work on the cafe side - serving food, taking money and clearing up, that kind of thing. It's a very pleasant and friendly atmosphere to work in, and would especially suit someone who enjoys a nice chat - obviously that's one of the major things the Swadford Centre is about."

Mrs Crickard said they had been in touch with some of the area's schools to see if some of their older children might be interested in going along. For pupils thinking of a career in catering, hospitality or elderly care, volunteering could provide invaluable work experience, she said

And Mrs Crickard added: "We are looking for someone with accountancy knowledge to take on the position of treasurer - it could suit someone who is retired and has some spare time to help us. Caren started recently as manager and cook. She has a great amount of experience in catering, and would be more than happy to pass some of that knowledge on.

"But what the Swadford Centre has always been about is providing a convivial place to meet for some great food and a chat. We like to think it's a very rewarding place to be for anyone who has just a few hours a week to spare."

The Swadford Centre is open Monday to Saturday, 9.30 opening, but is closed on a Tuesday. Anyone who would like to help can phone Mrs Crickard on 01943 608655 or go along to the centre.