VOLUNTEERS behind an award-winning composting scheme in Bisley have been offered financial help from Stroud District Council after the local authority withdrew funding from a vital service.

The council announced that support for the community chipping service would come to an end in just under three months, but volunteers from Bisley Community Composting Scheme (BCCS) said the scheme would face closure without regular visits from the council's shredding team.

Members were worried they would not be able to deal with bulky items without the aid of the powerful machine and said they were not in a financial position to purchase their own.

Now SDC has offered the group £2,500 to pay a contractor to carry out any necessary shredding during 2013 so that the organisation has time to plan a forward strategy for the years to come.

Hazel Saunders said: "We are so relieved that we can keep this scheme going while we get ourselves sorted out in the long term.

"We are also delighted that SDC recognises the value of the community composting scheme and applaud the support we have been given."

The scheme has its own small shredder for prunings but volunteers say more than 60 per cent of the waste taken to the site needs to go through a heavy duty shredder.

More than 130 members take their garden waste to the designated site on Bisley allotments and every year around 50 tonnes of this is transformed into compost used by residents.

Environmentally-friendly villagers would face a 20-mile round trip to Gloucestershire County Council's recycling centre at Horsley if BCCS had to close.

The scheme, set up by villagers in 2006, was awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in 2010 and contributed to Bisley being the Zero Waste Flagship Village in 2009 and Calor Village of the Year in 2011.

Carlos Novoth, public spaces manager for SDC, said: "The council was instrumental in supporting the scheme when it originally started and we really value its work. We are delighted to be able to extend funding for another year to help with its shredding costs."