Falmouth's award winning and inspirational Beacon Community Regeneration Partnership, which helped improve the lives of hundreds of families in what was the town's most deprived area, has been forced to call it a day.

Formed 21-years-ago out of the Penwerris Tenants and Residents Association (PTRA), the plug has been pulled on the partnership because its funding has run out. The BCRP has become a "victim of its own success," claims its project coordinator, and town mayor, Grenville Chappel.

"Because of all the improvements we have made on the estate, no-one wants to fund us any more," he said, "but I am very proud of what we have done over the last two decades."

While the doors of the Beacon Resource Centre were officially closed on Thursday, the welfare benefits' advice service it provided every Thursday morning will continue, but at a new location.

Falmouth Town Council agreed in the spring to fund that service, run by Jenny Richards and Emma May, for the next three years and has agreed to host it at the Old Post Office on The Moor from next Thursday (November 22).

The welfare benefits advice is just one of many projects to have come from the BCRP. The first was to make houses on the Old Hill estate more energy efficient by providing insulation, cladding and installing central heating and new windows.

This was all made possible after the PTRA secured £1.2million from the Government's Capital Challenge Fund and a further £1million from Carrick District Council in 1997.

"That enabled all the energy improvements on the estate, for which we won the Queen's Jubilee Award and the Deputy Prime Minister's Award for Sustainable Communities," said Mr Chappel. "That work turned the whole estate around - people started to take pride in their gardens and their properties and a community spirit was re-born."

The work carried out by the BCRP has also been credited for a drop in crime on the estate and improved academic achievements by local school children.

Such was its success, Mr Chappel acted as a consultant to other community groups across the country and as a direct result, 28 other projects were established. The money earned through this consultancy work was ploughed back into the BCRP, but sadly that work has now dried up - along with other funding streams.

"The funding has just about run out now," added Mr Chappel. "Despite several efforts, we have not been successful and therefore there is nothing else to do but to close.

"We are a charity and if we were to continue, our trustees would be responsible for any debt we incur. We cannot, and do not, expect all our volunteers who have worked with us for years, to be financially responsible."

Mr Chappel, whose wife June has been the BCRP's chairman, added: "It's an emotional time in some respects, but for the last several years, since Carrick Housing stopped funding us, it has been a struggle."

It costs between £8,000 and £10,000 a year just to keep the office open - taking into account rent, insurance, audits etc. Mr and Mrs Chappel have not taken a salary for the past three years to extend the partnership's life.

Although the BCRP may no longer exist, the PTRA is still going strong and residents with problems are urged to contact its members for help. "The Penwerris Tenants and Residents Association is where it all started so in some ways we are going back to the future," said Mr Chappel.

As the mayor, Mr Chappel is planning a reception to celebrate the BCRP's achievements in the council chamber in the new year and is asking anyone who has been involved with the partnership through volunteering or funding to get in touch.

"It's not going to be a wake," he said, "it's going to be a celebration of all that's been achieved."