COMMUNITY buildings under threat from closure amid massive cutbacks at county level could be save by volunteers.

Gloucestershire County Council said it had received confirmation from 43 groups which had said they would be interested in taking over the 24 buildings available for transfer from council-owned to community-owned.

GCC claimed at least one Expressions of Interest (EOI) has been received for every library or youth centre which is being offered for community transfer.

Business plans will now be drawn up and submitted by the groups that progress to the next stage.

GCC leader Mark Hawthorne, said: "Services work best when they are provided at the most local level and I am confident that with our help, the interested groups will be able to develop their plans.

"This is just the start of the journey communities are taking and we will be with them every step of the way to ensure that what they end up with is what their community needs."

Lechlade library is among the buildings at risk. Lechlade Town Council said although it was in discussions with both Cotswold Centre for Voluntary Services and GCC on maintaining a library in the town, it had not expressed an interest to take over the building.

Mayor Christine Eatwell said: "Both Lechlade Town Council and Cotswold Centre for Voluntary Services have agreed that taking over the existing 300-year-old library building to too great a risk for the community."

GCC has offered community libraries a £10,000 one-off payment to help with transition costs and can bid for further grant funding from the authority.

Another £100,000 will be available for building repairs, but must be match-funded locally, and there will be £50,000 available per district to help voluntary groups provide services for young people.

There will also be GCC support on running a voluntary organisation and recruitment.