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Sheringham community partnership showcases new home

11:29 21 December 2012

Open Door Art chairman Becky Robinson hanging an exhibition at Oddfellows Hall, Sheringham.

Open Door Art chairman Becky Robinson hanging an exhibition at Oddfellows Hall, Sheringham.

Archant

Sheringham’s Upcher Community Partnership is set to continue working for the town, after an £8,000 grant enabled it to complete a building project at its new base in Oddfellows Hall.

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The future of the partnership looked in doubt when, earlier in the year, funding from North Norfolk District Council came to an end.

Upcher staff were forced to close a drop-in shop in Station Road and moved into an office at the town hall.

A £3,000 grant from Norfolk Community Foundation gave the partnership some breathing space, paying for dry-lining and a second toilet at Oddfellows Hall, but more cash was needed to secure the partnership’s long-term future.

Upcher manager Janet Farrow said the lottery cash had paid for building work to be finished, enabling the hall to be used as a community hub.

It is currently staffed for two days a week, offering “hot desking” facilities for small businesses and job and CV-writing advice.

“What we want to do is to provide a range of facilities that complement what we already have in the town,” she said.

The hall is also used for one-to-one diabetes and diet advice by an NHS outreach team, and as an exhibition space by Sheringham’s Open Door Art

group, who are hoping to run classes and workshops.

The group’s chairman, Becky Robinson, said art events run at the hall during the summer had proved popular with people of all ages, with nine Open Door members also helping run a craft session for youngsters as part of the annual COAST festival.

“Our ethos is to get as many people involved as possible and Oddfellows Hall is a perfect, both as a permanent exhibition space, and as somewhere to work from,” she added.

Having a second toilet will allow Upcher staff to apply for an entertainments licence to host concerts and private parties. More funding has been applied for, which, if successful, could see the partnership’s future secured for the next five years.

“We are very proud of the projects we have got running, but what we want to do is to get back to providing community facilities and services for our residents, which is what the partnership was set up to do,” Mrs Farrow said.

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