Dad’s dream comes true as plans for outdoor community hub in Great Yarmouth get started

Darren and Kaci Wheeler Darren and Kaci Wheeler

Sunday, March 23, 2014
11:37 AM

Stargazers are set to be among those to flock to the borough’s newest outdoor community hub, along with toddlers and artists.

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L-R: Cllr Charles Marsden, ward councilor for Yarmouth North, Darren Wheeler and his daughter Kaci Wheeler, nine, of the iKaci Club, and Cllr Trevor Wainwright, the leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, at the site, off Jellicoe Road.L-R: Cllr Charles Marsden, ward councilor for Yarmouth North, Darren Wheeler and his daughter Kaci Wheeler, nine, of the iKaci Club, and Cllr Trevor Wainwright, the leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, at the site, off Jellicoe Road.

Now that the lease on a large patch of land off Jellicoe Road in North Yarmouth has been officially passed to social enterprise Fr33 Style and the iKaci Club for youngsters, organisers can now get to grips with their long-held plans.

The programme for the site aims to encompass all age groups and could see it become a regular haunt for sky scanners who will spend the night under canvas and enjoy a barbecue.

Meanwhile Fr33 Style founder Darren Wheeler, 47, the man behind the scheme, is appealing for donations of plastic toys for a new outdoor toddler group that aims to launch in the next few weeks.

Having already received funding for an electronic telescope from councillor Charles Marsden he hopes to beam the heavens onto a big screen, and possibly supply a live feed picking out much more than the naked eye can see.

The surfaced land has lain empty since the Newtown Youth Centre’s base was attacked by arsonists for a second time in 2010.

Securing the lease has taken two years and delayed the prog-ramme of events Mr Wheeler hoped to roll out last summer, which include roller skating and an outdoor cinema.

In time he hopes to use the span of the bridge, which rises over the land to form a proper community centre, but for now is busy securing 
fencing and a covered seating area along with any donations of tables and chairs.

The project stems from old-fashioned ideas of community and decency and sees young people helping out with neighbours to earn points for parties, treat trips and picnics, and other benefits.

He said: “The idea with the new building is to use the bridge that is already in situ because we already have two ends and a roof.

“The youth club could use the lower floor and we could let out the top floor. People are desperate for the space round here.”

The iKaci Club - inspired by his daughter who at the time was 
a big fan of iCarly - is a virtual community that inspires youngsters to get out and active whatever the weather, then add reports and pictures about what they have been up to.

The toddler club aims to provide a safe outdoor play area for little ones without the worry of broken glass that sometimes blights town parks.

Other activities will span the generations with art groups, bowls and sports.

The large space will also be available to hire for children’s parties.

With the lease signed the drive is now for donations of toys, equipment and storage as well as volunteers.

n To help contact Mr Wheeler on 07426 196298 or dazwheeler@gmail.com

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