The Atrium, a hub for culture and business in North Walsham, has just gained official charitable status, opening the door to new projects and funding possibilities.

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The £5.3m contemporary building, which adjoins North Walsham High School, boasts a cinema/theatre, dance and recording studios, large café and a number of rooms used by businesses and hired for events and conferences.

Atrium chiefs are now appealing for new board members and trustees, and volunteers to help expand and strengthen the centre as a mainstay of community life in north Norfolk.

Since it opened in September 2011 the Atrium has become home to a number of groups, including dance, music and drama clubs, as well as regularly screening films and staging theatrical and other events. A summer club for young people is planned in August.

But its early days were a struggle as the new venue battled to raise its profile on a shoestring budget. Charity status means chiefs can apply for funding from pots not open to non-charitable organisations.

The project was re-launched last autumn under new manager and artistic director, Joseph Ballard, with a programme of films and a Christmas show.

And it became an independent limited company as part of its bid to gain charitable status, now leasing parts of its building from the high school.

“All our existing and future work is credit to local people wanting to take part and to build on this we need more volunteers to help develop activity,” said Mr Ballard. “Now we have charitable status, we would like to build our bank of volunteers and share our aims and ethos with the wider community.”

Sam Robbins, chairman of the new charity, said charity status was one of the milestones in developing the Atrium’s reputation and standing among existing and new project partners.

He hoped the new organisation would lead to the development of new ideas and ambitions, with exciting events, entertainment and workshops.

■ For more information ring 01692 400080 or visit www.theatrium.org.uk

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