‘It would be a shame to see a building like this sold off and knocked down for houses’ - campaigners appeal for help to save Norwich’s Jubilee Hall
PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 March 2014 | UPDATED: 08:44 17 March 2014
A campaign to keep Norwich’s Jubilee Hall open has heard how plans to have it listed as a community asset look close to being realised.
Now organisers are desperately appealing for people in the community to step up and get involved in the plan to buy and manage the Aylsham Road venue.
It is currently owned by the Royal British Legion, which wants to sell the building because it poses an “unacceptable risk” to charitbale funds.
At a meeting on Saturday, Ralph Gayton, President of the Norwich branch of the Royal Bitish Legion and who also represents Mile Cross on Norwich City Council, said he was confident the application to get the hall listed as an asset of community value, under the Localism Act, would be successful in the coming days.
Martin Wyatt, who is organising the Save Jubilee Hall Campaign with the help of Fran Hardy, said the next step after securing the venue as a community asset is to start negotiations with the Royal British Legion regarding a purchase of the building, and some serious fundraising would be needed, as would more community support to ensure the hall’s running costs could be met.
He said: “We want to kickstart the whole place in the autumn, but that means having lots of events and activities running in the building.
“It’s a great hall for concerts and it could be used for keep fit or dance. But we need people to think of these things and leaders with enthusiasm to run them.”
The group behind the campaign is also looking for people with experience of running a charity or business to join its steering group as it nears its goal of setting up a charitable incorporated organisation.
Leonard Mann, 89, chairman of the Norwich Normandy Veterans’ Association, said: “We have 26 Normandy veterans still in our branch, which is that most Normandy veterans in any branch over the country.
“It would be a shame for us to lose this hall for the few more years we have got.”
Brian Wilson, 76, chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich Combined Ex-Services Assocation and also chairman of the Norfolk Royal Signals Association, said he could understand how it could be difficult for the Royal British Legion to continue putting funds which are meant to be lookng after veterans into running what was essentially a community centre, particularly because of strict rules on how charities can operate.
He said he felt strongly that it should continue to be a base for help ex-veterans and added: “I would like to see it used for ex-service associations and as a community centre for local people. It would be a shame to see a building like this sold off and knocked down for houses.”
Norwich North MP Chloe Smith also attended and pledged her support, saying everyone needed to work together to make this a success.
Organisations or groups interested in using the hall, or volunteers who would like to get involved, can email firstname.lastname@example.org to register an interest.
Do you have any ideas for how the hall could be used? Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, Norwich Evening News, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email email@example.com