Former changing rooms converted into office spaces thanks to grant funding

Fosters Electrical Services, who are new tenants at the Charles Burrell Centre in Thetford. Picture:

Fosters Electrical Services, who are new tenants at the Charles Burrell Centre in Thetford. Picture: Charles Burrell Centre - Credit: Archant

More than £100,000 of grant money will see up to 13 new businesses given office space after former changing rooms were converted into offices.

The Charles Burrell Centre in Thetford announced the new tenants, who will move in alongside nearly 50 groups and companies who are based in the former school.

Around 10 new rooms have been created from old PE changing rooms and showers, with potential uses including office space and storage space.

Terry Jermy, chairman of Charles Burrell Centre and a councillor, said: 'Power to Change is all about supporting community businesses so we pitched them an idea that we have got redundant space at Charles Burrell which we haven't been able to use since the day we moved in.

'Pretty much the rest of the site is now full so we have been looking at that redundant space and saying what can we do with it?'

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He added: 'The former PE changing rooms are a great example because when the building was a school and you had 1,000 pupils doing PE every day you needed lots showers and lots of changing rooms.

'We've not needed them since we moved in so the money is being used to create new storage spaces and small offices which there has been a lot of demand for.

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'If you move in as a tenant, even if you are not on-site all day, you have someone here to receive your post, your parcels, to answer enquires on your behalf and you have got somewhere to come and work however much you need it in an office.'

Nearly 20 of the centre's 47 tenants are brand new start-up businesses, with some growing so large they moved into town centre retail properties.

One of the businesses to take on one of the spaces is Fosters Electrical Services, a small company which had previously been based in the home of owner, Ryan Foster.

He said: 'We are a small local company renting a new affordable office and two storage spaces at The Charles Burrell Centre. Before the refurbishments we worked from home.

'The centre provides numerous opportunities for small businesses to develop and grow due to the increasing daily footfall and on-site collaboration with other small businesses.

'We now have two additional apprentices and a number of new contracts as a result of our relocation, affordable units and an ever increasing customer base'.

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