A CRUCIAL lifeline for community groups is facing the chop if it does not get fresh committee members - despite having cash in the bank.

It is "crunch time" for the Bracknell Forest Federation of Community Groups according to chairman Ed Glasson, who plans to step down from his role at the committee's AGM Wednesday.

The 69-year-old has headed up the federation since its launch in 2002, He says he is being forced to give up his position simply because he does not have the time to fulfil the demanding needs that come with organising meetings and liaising with more than 30 community groups and centres across the borough.

But he says the charity will be in dire straits and could be axed if it cannot get at least one new committee member to join and replace him from next week.

Mr Glasson said: "The federation is crucial; we've tackled all sorts of problems that people have faced, and if they don't have some kind of forum where they can get help and advice then that's when they'll wake up at 3am screaming.

"I would very much hope that someone will be able to rise to the challenge and do the job, because those of us who've been involved and invested our time into the federation are worried." He added: "We've done a lot of good over the last few years and it would be a shame to let that go."

Mr Glasson not only works as the chairman, but also does all of the charity's administration work as well - from filing paperwork to organising meetings - a job that ideally needs to be split in two.

"If we can't get all the officers we need next week then we can't function," he explained. "We'll need to have an extraordinary general meeting - probably in a few weeks' time - to wind down the federation and call it a day." The federation has served thousands of residents and groups - such as NAGs and Bracknell's LINKs - and issued advice on a myriad of topics to help strengthen the voluntary and community sector.

It is independent, backed by local authority funding and donations, and is actually one of few organisations which has money to spend.

Mr Glasson said: "We've got �1,500 in the bank, so it's not as if we're going out of business. It's just a question of finding people to do the work required." Committee members will come together tonight (Wednesday) at Easthampstead Baptist Church, in South Hill Road, at 7.30pm.

They will discuss events from the last year and appoint new committee members.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help save this much-needed charity from closure can contact federation press officer, Sabena Walker, on 01344 310023.