Members of Emsworth Community Association took over the freehold and buildings that make up the community centre in North Street in December, with renovations and improvements already under way.
Hampshire County Council supported the move by transferring ownership from itself to Emsworth Community Association for a nominal fee of £1.
Mike Stott, chairman of Emsworth Community Association, said: ‘This is a landmark day for the people of Emsworth and for our members. We now have full control over the future development of the community centre and will ensure it continues to flourish for many years to come.
‘We are already one of the busiest community centres in Hampshire with one of the largest membership base and it is wonderful to think that the community centre is run by local people for the benefit of the community of Emsworth and surrounding areas.
‘This launches a new era for the community centre and for the people of Emsworth.’
Hampshire County Council offered the transfer, as part of the Localism Act – a government act that included giving powers to local people to take over community assets that were traditionally run by councils – to ensure that local and it was given unanimous support from association members.
It also meant that the association was given permission from its members to change its charitable status from non-incorporated to incorporated, which was necessary so they could own the land and buildings.
Mr Stott said: ‘The charitable status has been upgraded to reflect the latest charitable standards and provide a stronger base for the charity in the future. The community centre will continue to support the needs of its members and users.
‘In fact [in December] we refurbished the kitchen to bring it up to date and provide users with more work surface and better storage facilities, just in time for all the Christmas parties and celebrations. We managed to complete the works with a generous donation from Emsworth Food Festival.’
The large kitchen can now cater for dinner functions of up to 100 people, and plans for this year include updating the lighting in the assembly rooms to suit all occasions.