Kitchener’s needs you! Appeal to save historic Lowestoft holiday centre from closure

The Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday centre in Lowestoft is in danger of closing.Victoria Schofield o

The Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday centre in Lowestoft is in danger of closing.Victoria Schofield outside the centre. - Credit: Nick Butcher

It has supported ex-servicemen and women for generations with low-cost holidays after being set up in memory of one of the nation's greatest war heroes.

The Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday centre in Lowestoft is in danger of closing.

The Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday centre in Lowestoft is in danger of closing. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Yet one of Lowestoft's most historic hotels could be forced to close its doors unless it finds £10,000 in the next three weeks to keep it going through the winter.

In a bid to save the Lord Kitchener Holiday Memorial Centre from falling, managers are hoping to invoke the spirit of the former secretary of state for war by telling the people of Lowestoft: 'Kitchener's needs you.'

The Grade II listed building in Kirkley Cliff Road, Lowestoft was set up in 1919 to provide a place for ex-servicemen returning from the horrors of the Great War to relax.

Despite a brief break as a treatment centre during the Second World War while Lowestoft was under constant attack, it has given former soldiers much-needed holidays in the one of the most beautiful parts of the world that they otherwise couldn't afford, by offering it at a cheaper price.

The Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday centre in Lowestoft is in danger of closing. A typical room toda

The Lord Kitchener Memorial Holiday centre in Lowestoft is in danger of closing. A typical room today. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Today its 10 twin-bed rooms are open to ex-servicemen and women – as well as their spouses and partners, and widows – from conflicts ranging from the Second World War, the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan, with its high point coming in 2004 when it catered for 500 guests in a year.

But since then numbers have fallen to around 150 per year as the centre struggles to compete with cheaper holidays and more modern hotels, as well as paying its running costs of £3,000 per month.

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Victoria Schofield, a member of the centre's management committee, said: 'It's a piece of our history and a piece of Lowestoft's heritage that does something so amazing.

'We're Lowestoft's and Suffolk's best kept secret. We need to shout about it and need people to support us and help us through the winter.

'If we don't get guest numbers up, by the end of January it's likely we'll have to shut Kitchener's doors. At the moment it's very, very close.'

Kitchener's is open between April and October but needs to decide whether its planned guest numbers for 2016 make it viable to continue.

At the moment it is about 10 guests away from the number it needs – but even then it still needs money for renovations to the building and vital equipment, such as televisions in rooms.

It has been helped with various fund-raising but Mrs Schofield said it still needs more financial support – and volunteers who can help spread the word about Kitchener's.

'We can turn it around and we can save it but we need the support of the community,' she said. 'We don't want to see it sold off and turned into flats.'

'Kitchener's needs you – Kitchener's needs Lowestoft.'

Are you organising a fund-raising campaign? Tell The Journal by calling 01502 525820 or email lowestoft.journal@archant.co.uk