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Norwich campaigners vow to save community centre after launching £250,000 fundraising drive

PUBLISHED: 09:39 17 July 2012

Hilda Bullen, 84, at the Silver Rooms meeting last night.
Photo: Bill Smith

Hilda Bullen, 84, at the Silver Rooms meeting last night. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant

A Norwich community last night vowed to fight on in its efforts to save the city’s Silver Rooms and turn it into a community centre – by launching a £250,000 fundraising drive.

At a public meeting held at the Silver Road site, the Friends of the Silver Rooms asked members of the public what they thought should be the next stage in the campaign to take over the day centre and maintain it for the community.

Ian Gibson, who chaired the meeting, said: “We haven’t really been getting anywhere. You people are so important. You have got to say to us what you want and whether you want us to carry on fighting.”

The campaign was launched in 2009 when Norfolk County Council announced it planned to close the Silver Rooms and move users to other day centres. The Friends have now been offered a chance to buy the Silver Rooms for £80,000 – or £68,000 if they agree to a 79-year “clawback” clause – but believe the council should give it to the community for free.

But the county council has previously insisted it cannot simply give the building away and must try to get the best deal for taxpayers while also helping the community. At last night’s meeting it was resolved the Silver Rooms supporters would fight on.

They also decided to set up a fundraising committee to pay for any renovation of the building and, if necessary, to buy the building itself.

Closing the meeting, Dr Gibson said: “Everybody here has agreed to set up a fundraising committee.

“We will aim for £250,000 for a start which will ensure this building is passed over the community. We will also try once more to go to the county council and say, after this meeting, with the support that’s still there, they need to give it to us for free.”

A search will now begin for a high-profile patron to help launch the campaign and the Friends also hope to find volunteers to help drive the campaign forward – by setting up a website, completing grant applications and fundraising in the community. They also want to hear from community groups and organisations which would like to use the Silver Rooms for their activities. Contact Julie Brociek-Coulton on 07786 694325 or silverroadcentre@aol.co.uk

Are working hard to support your community? Contact the Evening News reporting team on 07501 481521.

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