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Deaf association close to securing new Norwich base after homes plan forces move

PUBLISHED: 06:53 28 April 2018 | UPDATED: 06:53 28 April 2018

Graphic House in Norwich, which currently homes Norfolk Deaf Association.Picture: David Hannant

Graphic House in Norwich, which currently homes Norfolk Deaf Association.Picture: David Hannant

Archant

A charity forced to move out of its headquarters is close to securing a new base - and has assured the public it is business as usual in the interim.

Aliona Derrett, chief executive of Norfolk Deaf Association. Picture: Norfolk Deaf AssociationAliona Derrett, chief executive of Norfolk Deaf Association. Picture: Norfolk Deaf Association

The Norfolk Deaf Association, which helps more than 11,000 people with hearing problems countywide, is currently based in Graphic House on Thorpe Road in Norwich, leasing the bottom floor of a student accommodation block.

However, after the landlord made a decision to apply to convert the floor into more flats, the charity - which is celebrating its 120th year - was left to find an alternative home.

Aliona Derrett, chief executive of the charity, said that while the move set the charity back financially - potentially costing just short of £50,000 - it would also create new opportunities.

She said: “The decision to develop the building did come as a surprise to us - we have been in the building for five years and the landlord has been very good to us. However, we were initially expecting the lease to be renewed.

“We were told around Christmas of the intentions so were given plenty of notice. However, it was not something we budgeted for, so the costs will come from money set aside to further develop our services.”

However, the charity is now close to securing a new premises in the same area of the city, with Mrs Derrett hoping to seal the location in the coming days.

She added the move was likely to happen in the summer and that it would only result in “one or two days” of disruption for services.

She said: “As we cover the whole of Norfolk, around 80pc of our services are out and about in the community. However, our premises is still so important to us and without one it would be very difficult to offer the range and quality of services we do.

“We are already looking at ways to make sure that when we relocate, we will not only move, but improve.”

The charity has also appealed to the public for any support it can offer as it looks to move forward in the coming months.

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