Jewish congregation sets fundraising target for crucial revamp at Norwich synagogue

Norwich Synagogue congregation are trying to raise money for renovations. Dr Marian Prinsley and Nic

Norwich Synagogue congregation are trying to raise money for renovations. Dr Marian Prinsley and Nick Simons. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The congregation of the only synagogue in Norfolk and Suffolk is hoping to reach a £400,000 renovation target.

The outdated kitchen at the synagogue. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The outdated kitchen at the synagogue. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The synagogue, which was consecrated in 1969, is visited by around 3,000 schoolchildren and their teachers each year.

But the communal hall of the synagogue in Earlham Road dates back to the 1950s and is no longer considered 'fit for purpose'.

And access problems and outdated toilets means the Norwich Hebrew Congregation has had to turn away disabled youngsters.

The congregation wants to carry out essential and refurbishment which modernise the building. It has been drawing up plans and is seeking funding.

The Norwich Synagogue which was destroyed in 1942.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Norwich Synagogue which was destroyed in 1942.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant


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From its own savings, contributions and fundraising £187,500 towards the target has been found –but more needs to be secured.

Dr Marian Prinsley, president of the congregation, said: 'Our intention is this would be the Jewish centre for East Anglia, for worship. education, heritage and community events.'

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Funding was sought through Norwich Charitable Trusts and the project has received support from the Geoffrey Watling Trust, the Town Close Estates Charity and the Paul Basham Trusts.

The goal is for the hall to be available to the wider community, while the redevelopment would also include displays on the history of Jews in Norwich.

Dr Prinsley said: 'With Judaism being on the RE curriculum and us being the only synagogue in the region, it is so important for to create understanding between different religions. We hope to develop how we can do that in better facilities.'

The revamp would enable a kitchen to be updated, a small library, brand new toilets, the modernisation of the main entrance to provide disabled access and updated heating and lighting.

Further funding is being sought from other charitable trusts, while congregants and families who have links to Norwich will be asked if they can help to raise the rest of the money.

Honorary treasurer Nick Simons said: 'We considered whether we could knock down the site, but that was mega money. So we came up with what we think is a workable solution.'

Planning permission is currently in place from earlier plans, but Mr Simons said that expires in July, so a fresh application would be needed.

As well as seeking donations, the congregation is hoping somebody with expertise at submitting funding applications might be able to help.

Anyone who wants to donate, or can help with fundraising applications, should visit www.norwichsynagogue.org.uk

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