It was a safe haven for Polish soldiers who fled their Nazi-occupied homeland and fought for the allies during the Second World War and has since become a focal point for expatriates in the west of Scotland.

But the future of the Sikorski Polish Club is now under threat because the four-story building in Glasgow’s west end had fallen into a dangerous state of disrepair.

The dedicated team of volunteers who run the charity must raise more than £200,000 to pay for repairs and install a lift to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act.

A desperate plea for donations has been issued to prevent the loss of the cultural and social venue - thought to be the last of its kind in Scotland.

Poland’s Consul General in Edinburgh, Dariusz Adler, described the building as “one of the most important hubs for the Polish community in Scotland”.

He said: “It is an important symbol that served the Polish soldiers, who came here during the Second World War and then settled in Scotland, built their new lives here but still wanted to keep their links with the Polish language and culture.

“Over time the Sikorski House also gradually became the hub for all the Poles who came to Scotland when Poland joined the EU.

“The house is now as busy as ever trying to serve the 90,000-strong Polish community and the local communities interested in Poland, its history and culture. The building now requires renovation to serve the demands better.”

Named in honour of General W?adys?aw Sikorski - Prime Minister of the Polish Government in exile and commander of the free Polish forces during the war - the club has been a meeting place for Poles and their descendants for more than sixty years and serves as a war memorial for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for Britain’s freedom – ironically, a freedom that was denied to Poland itself.

The building in Parkgrove Terrace was first used as a vocational re-training centre for the men and women who were unable to return to communist-governed Poland. It was gifted to the Polish community by then Lord Provost of Glasgow Patrick Dollan, a left-wing activist of Irish descent.

In 1954 it was established as the Polish Social and Educational Society in Glasgow for the diaspora and has since served their descendants and the estimated 50,000 Poles who migrated to Scotland following the 2004 enlargement of the European Union.

Today it houses a bustling basement lounge-bar and restaurant serving authentic Polish dishes, a function room where innumerable family celebrations have been held and a library of Polish language books, CDs, and artefacts, as well as two floors of not-for-profit rooms for rent at a reasonable weekly rate, by Glasgow standards.

The charity also provides hundreds of members with language classes, music and film festivals, a folk group, chess club, a history club, and hosts mothers and toddlers mornings as well as crisis and abuse support groups.

But the future of the club has been thrown into doubt after it emerged that the building had been poorly maintained for decades.

Chair of the board, Dr Izabela Czekaj, said: "It is vital that the society is sustainable. At one time there were Polish clubs in every town in Scotland. Ours is now the only one left that is owned and operated by its members.

“We have big plans to revive the club, when we overcome the problems we have.”

Those plans began in earnest yesterday with a well-attended ceremony which saw ‘Panels of History and Sacrifice’ unveiled on the Society’s ‘Memorial Wall’.

Each of the panels commemorates important events in Poland’s history: The Katyn Forest Massacre in 1940; the loss of the Polish destroyer ORP Orkan in 1943; the Smolensk air disaster in 2010, which claimed 96 lives including that of Polish President Lech Kaczynski; and a panel in memory of Polish men and women who have “paid the ultimate sacrifice in the great European struggles for your freedom and ours”.

Among those at yesterday’s event was member of the Polish parliament Malgorzata Wypych, who said: “We are really proud that the Sikorski club exists and we firmly believe that the tasks it undertakes deserve both recognition and support. We hold it to be our moral duty, both as Polish authorities and as Poles in general.”

The MP also thanked volunteers for “making sure that there is a place in Scotland where Poles and the British can meet and discover our common, allied history”.

She added: “It is where we derive strength and love for our homeland. I am extending these thanks on behalf of myself and Polish Parliament. We are proud to support our legacy and recognise those who aid us in doing so.”