HUNDREDS of Yarra Ranges locals have taken to social media to try to save the Lilydale Salvation Army centre from closure.
The centre made the announcement last Monday via its Facebook page that it would have to close on August 9, as it no longer had enough funding to keep operating.
Since then, many people have expressed their disappointment online over the impending closure and set up a Facebook petition.
As of yesterday, the 'Save lilydale salvation army community center' Facebook group had more than 330 members.
Centre manager Neal Taylor has been made redundant.The centre's programs - including the drop-in service, family faith gathering, community prayer time, men's group, art groups, and Matt's Cafe (a well-attended community meal-time held every fortnight) - will finish by the end of the month unless other options become available.
"I am disappointed and a little upset but I am more concerned about what's going to happen with the meal service and the people," Mr Taylor said.
He said the community centre would remain open for two days a week maintained by volunteers, under the auspice of the Mooroolbark Corps.
He said continuing Matt's Cafe was his biggest focus. "People who have been struggling the hardest, ensuring they have somewhere to go once we close - that's important."
Mr Taylor said funding for the centre had been under review recently and the decision to close made by the leaders of the Eastern Victoria division of the Salvation Army. "The centre was not self-sufficient and we were not able to raise enough money. They couldn't subsidise costs any more."