Caister WI plan to open their own meeting hall

Members of the Caister WI. Picture: Ruth Bond/Caister WI

Members of the Caister WI. Picture: Ruth Bond/Caister WI - Credit: Archant

Fed up of the draughty hall they meet in, a group of ladies from the WI decided to take matters into their own hands.

Caister Bowls Club.Photo: Andy DarnellCopy: Tony CarrollFor: EDPArchant © 2010 (01603) 772434

Caister Bowls Club.Photo: Andy DarnellCopy: Tony CarrollFor: EDPArchant © 2010 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Archant © 2010

Caister Women's Institute hopes to build a purpose-built venue for themselves and have submitted a planning proposal to the borough council.

If approved, the Caister WI Centenary Hall will form an extension to the current King George V Pavilion.

The group has been working with the village's playing field charity to come up with a plan for the long term security of both organisations.

Now their Stronger Together project aims to provide a modern all-weather base for events on the playing field at Allendale Road in Caister, as well as a venue for the WI, that meets with modern day expectations.

WI president Ruth Bond-Holland said: 'The pavilion on the field now was originally planned to have a community hall, but unfortunately the funding could not be found at the time.

'We plan to add it as an extension now. The WI Centenery Hall as it will be called, will assist with the funding of the playing field which needs approximately £15,000 a year for the upkeep and maintenance of the field and pavilion.

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'We can then organise more community events and workshops whilst supporting the scouts, ATC, bowlers, cricketers and footballers.'

The project is expected to cost between £250,000 to £300,000, which Ruth said 'is a tiny amount compared to the massive impact it will have on the community. It would be fantastic if we could find local funding.'

The WI, which meets every second Monday, is currently based at the parish council hall.

With the closure of the Youth and Community Centre in Yarmouth Road, five years ago the village does not have a sizeable charitable community facility available to the public.

The applicant, on behalf of the WI, said the parish hall does not have adequate heating, lighting, kitchen facilities, sound system, ventilation or parking and outdoor space.

The WI membership made a resolution in 2015 to build their own modern hall to meet in and make available to the community, and their vision is for a self-financed hall which will help meet the needs of all age groups.

The WI, which has 70-odd members, was established in 1947, is the largest in Norfolk and it celebrates its 70th anniversary next year.

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