Community hub to transform town centre store at former pub site
PUBLISHED: 16:52 10 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:52 10 August 2020
A community hub is set to transform a former pub and prestigious retailer.
Allsorts Support Services CIC – a family run non-profit community support group – will be moving into the family retail store, Coes of Lowestoft.
The building on Bevan Street East in Lowestoft had been converted from The Old Clapham Arms public house into a men’s clothing shop in 2005.
After Coes shut its doors in the town in May last year after 50 years of trading, plans were approved in May this year to turn the shop into flats and two smaller units at 118-119 Bevan Street East.
Now, further change of use plans have been approved by East Suffolk Council under delegated powers, to turn 119 Bevan Street in Lowestoft “from A1 to D1 (non residential institutions)”.
Admitting it was “great news”, Nikki Williams – founder and managing director of Allsorts Support Services – said: “We will be moving into the old Coes building.
“We pick up the keys today (on Monday) and we are really looking forward to it.”
After becoming a CIC in May 2018, the service provides respite and PA support while running Allsorts community activities and entertainment for children, adults and families with learning disabilities, difficulties, autism and/or additional needs.
Nikki Williams said: “We were already running activities at various venues across Lowestoft when in October last year we created a community hub at the old Magistrates Court building.
“Now we will be able to do things on a bigger scale.
“We will be remaining in the old court building until the lease runs out and then transfer everything over to the former Coes building.
“We hope to be open and start early October in a permanent setting that has a real community feel to it.”
With around 30 families part of Allsorts Support Services CIC, Nikki Williams added: “We support people from Beccles, Woodbridge and the majority come from Lowestoft.
“There are no age restrictions as both children and adults are welcome.”
With a team of 15 people, employees and volunteers, working with “a very person-centred approach” to supporting children and adults with learning disabilities/difficulties and or additional needs, she added: “We have just been going from strength to strength and this is the next step to move into this prominent building.
“It was always a hope to be moving to a large hub facility like this.”
Among the areas planned in the new community hub are a wellbeing relaxation room, an activity room, a chillout zone, sensory room, an arts and crafts room and much more.
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