By Andrea Thompson THE West Cumbrian Muslim Society wants to build a community centre and mosque in Whitehaven. The 65-strong group hopes to spend $330,000 on the centre. At present, the society uses a converted upstairs room in Whitehaven for prayers and social activities – but numbers have increased. Whitehaven Civic Hall is going to be used for a forthcoming Muslim wedding. The society is seeking funding towards a $9,000 feasibility study to identify specifications and funding for its own community centre, which it says would work with and help more than 200 people of all ages. It would not only be open to Muslims, but to other members of the community. Restaurant boss Nurul Hoque, who owns the Akash restaurant in Tangier Street, is leading the bid. Deb Muscat, community empowerment network officer for West Cumbria Voluntary Services, said: There is a growing population of Muslims in west Cumbria. I support the application. There is a demonstrable need in west Cumbria, especially in the Whitehaven area. The society has been awarded grants totalling $1,100 from the Hillcrest & Hensingham and South Whitehaven neighbourhood forums for the feasibly study. Alistair Norwood, Copeland councillor for Hillcrest, said: This is something that we really need to support. There is no other facility like this in Cumbria. This will bring people into Whitehaven from all over Cumbria and the north east and that can only be really good for the town. I do hope that people are open-minded and embrace this.