Hopes for a �94,000 Christmas gift for Fakenham Community Campus project

Volunteers working a long-term �3.8m renovation of the Fakenham Community Centre site are hoping to be able to make significant improvements within months.

It will depend on the outcome of their application for a �94,000 grant from Norfolk County Council's Community Construction Fund.

They expect to hear by Christmas if the bid has been successful.

We have has previously reported how ambitious plans have been drawn up to create a community campus at a prominent site in the heart of the town where Fakenham Community Centre, the Fakenham Connect building, Fakenham Library and a scout hut currently stand.

The proposals are for a lively, environmentally-friendly facility which would be used by young people, businesses, pre-school children, the elderly and disabled people.

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They include plans to improve the cultural offering in Fakenham and even create an outdoor amphitheatre which could attract tourists and raise the profile of the town.

The project is planned to be phased in over future years.

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But, if the bid to the county council is successful, it is planned to have a significant amount of work done to the site by early next summer.

This work includes:

Refurbishing and opening up the gardens at the rear of the site to enable it to be used by the public and host theatrical shows;

Improving the community centre's foyer including a skylight feature and automatic doors;

Creating two new meeting rooms at the community centre;

Improving toilet facilities at the community centre.

Around 15,000 visits a year are made to the centre, which is 40 years old this year.

Richard Crook, who is part of the steering group, said: 'The community centre is looking tired and needs short and long-term investment. But it is a well-used facility with tremendous potential.

'This is a long-term project to get the site to where we want it to be but we are hopeful that we can make some significant improvements in the short-term. It will be great to show people that we are making progress.

'Due to the economic climate we know the bidding process is very competitive but I feel that we make a strong case for Fakenham.'

Janet Holdom, chairman of the transition group, said: 'Fakenham is designated as a growth town and needs improvements to its infrastructure. We plan to grow usage to 20,000 visits a year in three years by increasing what's on offer and opening up new spaces which are currently wasted, such as the beautiful gardens bordered by the ancient crinkle crankle wall at the rear.'


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