Diss youth centre sale to complete by end of year

The long-awaited sale of a Norfolk town's youth centre to the town council should be completed within weeks, it was revealed this week.

Diss Town Council clerk Deborah Sarson said the county council should complete the transfer of the Diss Youth Resource Base in Shelfanger Road by the end of the year, ensuring it will not have to close.

Her comments came during a town council meeting at the Corn Hall which discussed a report by business analysts Moss-King Associates into future uses for the centre, bought for the council by an anonymous donor.

The base fell victim to county council cutbacks earlier this year as part of efforts to reduce the national debt and was offered to the town council for �125,000 before it was to close and be put on the open market for sale.

The majority of the councillors present supported the report, which made a number of recommendations including the establishment of a charitable trust to take over the running of the centre.

This trust would include one young person, as well as a youth worker and would appoint a paid part-time caretaker, cleaner and full-time bookings administrator to be based within a new centre office.

Creating this trust would help to reduce the burden on town council staff currently supervising the centre and members of the centre's steering group who were responsible for finding funds.

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One potential source of revenue would be letting out the upstairs floor space for use by a social enterprise or not-for-profit group, the report said, while the downstairs is recommended for community and youth groups.

While the cost of the paid staff would be around �16,000 annually, the report states letting the upstairs office could generate �10,250 revenue annually, while the downstairs community space could produce �10,800.

However, major refurbishment and redecorating would be needed to the interior of the building and replacement of the heaters, which the report describes as 'archaic and inefficient.'

Councillors discussed a range of possible uses for the centre, including by music groups, while the space could be hired out for private functions.

The next stage is for the council to set out a vision for the centre's future by working with youngsters to determine what youth provision is needed, while also setting out a future funding plan.

Councillor Keith Kiddie said: 'We have got a facility here and it is being used and I would like to say a personal thank you to the council for getting to this stage. We are getting there.'

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