Bowthorpe Community Centre is growing places

People in Bowthorpe will be offered access to work training – and a possible route into employment – at a revamped community centre.

People in Bowthorpe will be offered access to work training – and a possible route into employment – at a revamped community centre.

The former pupil referral unit in Bowthorpe Hall Road has been transformed into a �500,000 community hub, and will offer training and services to tackle social exclusion.

The Grow Organisation, which is leasing the building, will deliver training and qualifications to support disengaged people into work – backed up by a matching service with local employers.

Grow will horticultural and property maintenance training to volunteers, who have already cleared the centre's grounds and erected fencing.

The centre, refurbished and extended by Norfolk County Council after a Government Co-location grant, is available to voluntary groups during the day and includes an outdoor sports area.

Paul Wells, Norfolk county councillor for Bowthorpe and chair of the management committee, said he hoped the centre would become a 'community asset' in an area that he admitted has lacked them.

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'We want the people of Bowthorpe to really own this centre,' he said. 'This is not the council's building – it's the community's.

'This will mean we have a centre that can benefit all of the different user groups locally – young people, older people, families and local businesses.'

Jacqui Starling, chief operating officer of Grow, said up to 500 people a year could benefit from the centre's training and employment opportunities.

'We work with partner agencies encouraging motivation, improving self-esteem and the employability of individuals out of work. Our volunteer scheme gives young people and vulnerable adults a valuable opportunity to do community work while gaining work-based and social skills.'

Are you setting up a community project? Call reporter Mark Shields on 01603 772423 or email mark.shields@archant.co.uk

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