Public urged to name this future hub of the community

Backers of North Walsham's emerging Phoenix centre are urging the public to get involved by suggesting a permanent name for it – and coming up with ideas for using the �5.3m building.

A competition has been launched to name the centre, which has been using 'Phoenix' as a working title.

A joint project between North Walsham High School and the Benjamin Foundation, the centre is being built at the school for use by pupils and the wider community, funded by a government 'co-location' grant.

It will include a 202-seat theatre and cinema, cafe, electronic and other games area, computers with internet-access, dance and music suites, a recording studio, food-technology facilities, consulting rooms, with one equipped to NHS standards, office space to rent, and a creche.

A viewing platform and webcam have been set up so that those interested can keep track of progress on the centre, which will be up and running next September.

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And a development officer, Marion Wright, has been appointed to 'put heart and soul' into the building.

She said: 'We want to ensure the centre has a name that reflects its value in the wider community. Local involvement is central to the success of this ambitious project so inviting people to name the building seems a great way to start the process.'

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Mrs Wright, 56, is also hoping anyone who would like to use the facilities, or be involved with the project, will contact her.

She said possible uses could include younger and older people's cinema clubs, with occasional linked-theme dining events in the cafe, a meeting place for fathers not living at home to spend time with older children, cookery master classes, a venue for touring theatre companies, parties, local bands and choirs, podiatry, vaccination clinics, pilates and reflexology classes, and conferences.

'It is only limited by people's imaginations,' she said. 'It could even have a knock-on affect on the local economy. For example, if conferences took off, it might encourage more people to start up bed and breakfast businesses.'

Centre users would be charged a competitive rate because the building had to pay its way, Mrs Wright added.

Ideas for names should be supported by a brief statement of no more than 25 words explaining the choice.

Send entries to: Naming Competition, North Walsham High School, Spenser Avenue, North Walsham NR28 9HZ. Mrs Wright can be contacted on 07867 847 521 or by email:

The closing date for entries is Friday, November 12 and the winner will earn �50 of high street shopping vouchers.

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