Concern of plans to relocate NNAB centre in Great Yarmouth

Users of the NNAB in Hall Quay, Great Yarmouth. Photo: George Ryan

Users of the NNAB in Hall Quay, Great Yarmouth. Photo: George Ryan - Credit: Archant

Visually impaired people have expressed their concern that a popular social centre they use is set to move.

The Norfolk and Norwich Association of the Blind wants to relocate the equipment and information centre in Hall Quay, Great Yarmouth round the corner to the Acorn Centre in Regent Street.

While it only takes a couple of minutes to walk between the two buildings, for someone with visual impairments it could be very daunting to go to a completely new space.

The Acorn Centre, in the former Poundstretcher store, is a specialist over 50s centre run by Age Concern Great Yarmouth.

One NNAB service user, Irene Capon, said the current location was the only place she could go independently and felt uncomfortable in the new building.

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Judy Morrow said: 'One of the big problems in the new place is the area would be for everyone. You have people coming in and out as its designated as a drop-in centre.'

She added if she could not come somewhere like the centre in Hall Quay, she would lose her confidence.

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David Wilkinson agreed, adding: 'It probably took me two to three years to build up the confidence to come here on my own in the first place. People can get here on their own, by public transport or a Centre 81 bus.'

A volunteer at the centre, Wendy George, said the current building was perfect because you could drop people off outside and the nearby bus stop in Stonecutters Way was very handy.

But at the Acorn Centre, she said, as cars are not allowed down Regent Street you would have to park behind in the Palmers car park or walk from the bus station – neither of which are easy if you are visually impaired.

Julie Lythgoe, acting chief executive at the Norfolk an Norwich Association for the Blind, said the move would allow them to widen the scope of services they offer and reach more people and she would work with the Acorn Centre to make the building fully accessible for visually impaired people.

She added: 'I want to reassure people that every service and facility which is currently available at Hall Quay will be available at the new location, including the equipment centre, and social meeting spaces for visually impaired people.'

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