Diss Corn Hall receives market towns award

A rejuvenated community building has been praised for injecting new life into Diss after scooping a regional award.

Officials at the Diss Corn Hall spoke of their delight after the ongoing refurbishment of the venue helped win an Action for Market Towns award.

The town council-owned listed building, which was taken over by a community management trust two years ago, was the winner of the social and community category in the Eastern region awards.

The awards aim to recognise the projects that are helping to breathe new life into market towns, which have struggled during the economic downturn.

The Corn Hall has already received a fresh lick of paint, improved acoustics, and new toilets, but trustees hope the recognition will assist when it comes to funding bids for a proposed �2m renovation of the entertainments venue.

The building, which received �50,000 from the Norfolk County Council community ambition prize at last year's EDP Pride of Norfolk Awards, is on target to welcome 10,000 people across its threshold this year.

Glyn Walden, chairman of the Diss Corn Hall Trust, said the reputation and calibre of events at the hall was growing all the time. He added that it was a 'surprise' to win the Action for Market Towns award.

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'It is splendid news and it is a manifestation of the hard work the team has put in the project over the last four years and we have been so fortunate that the people who have come forward to assist have a range of skills and expertise, which is so essential. Diss is no longer a border town, it is a cultural hub,' he said.

Anne Buchanan, of Action for Market Towns, said the organisation was impressed with the community involvement, quality, and future viability of the Corn Hall project. She added that Diss would go into the overall east winner final and could go on to the national finals.

David Case, Corn Hall trustee, added that the trust was working with Diss Town Council and Diss Museum to help increase footfall and boost tourism in the town.

'We are looking at how we bring it all to life and we are working with traders. It is a long-term project and we hope we are a catalyst in helping that to go forward.'

He added that work was continuing on funding bids for the �2m upgrade.

'It will transform the building as a destination and it will have a huge impact on Diss. Realistically, what we have done so far is paper over the cracks,' he said.

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