HUNDREDS of people are backing a campaign to re-open a popular community centre.

Mum-of-two Jackie McPherson, flanked by supporters, handed over a petition to Inverclyde Council demanding that they get the Paton Street hall back in business.

Jackie has been fighting to get the facility up and running ever since it closed over a year ago following a deliberate fire in December 2016.

Jackie, 38, said: "We've nearly 500 signatures and we're really pleased with the support.

"We have a Paton Street Community Centre Facebook page and the building was retained in the council budget.

"This petition is the next step to getting it re-opened."

Jackie, who used to run a toddlers group at the centre says the facility was well-used and its closure has been keenly felt.

She said: "There were a variety of groups - a kids' craft class, youth club, computing courses, job club, drop-ins and classes run by the community learning and development team.

"I think if it re-opened it would make a big difference to everyone, not just people from Bow Road but the whole South West locality."

Fellow supporter Lisa Kinwood, 37, said: "It's not just for one community.

"It's for the the whole town."

The property is owned by Inverclyde Council and operated by Inverclyde Leisure and ward councillors Tommy McVey, Natasha Murphy and John Crowther also back the drive to breathe new life into it.

Cllr McVey said: "We need to commend Jackie for all the time she has put in organising the petition and meetings.

"We have volunteers who will join a management committee which will be formed over the next few weeks.

"I will do everything I can along with the other ward councillors to help the group."

Cllr Murphy, who was also at the handover, said: "I think the centre is vital to the area and it's important we protect any facility that is well used and back the people who are petitioning to get the centre re-opened."

Councillor Crowther added: "I am glad that the petition received the number of petitions it did. There was quite a lot of enthusiasm both from young and elderly people who had used it in the past."

Jackie says the support from all three councillors has given her a boost to continue with the fight.

She said: "I feel more confident now to move forward."

An meeting will be held on April 23 at St Joseph's Church hall at 4.30pm for the formation of a committee who would run the hall.