Delight as Norwich’s Harford Community Centre is officially opened by Lord Mayor

Official Opening of the Hardford Community centre by Lord Mayor councillior David Fullman with Ian W

Official Opening of the Hardford Community centre by Lord Mayor councillior David Fullman with Ian Wells and Paul Goymer. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Norwich's newest community centre has been officially opened by the city's Lord Mayor, completing a remarkable turnaround in fortunes.

The new Harford Community Centre held a special day of activities yesterday to show off its new home, near the Asda supermarket in Hall Road.

The centre has moved from its former home in Peterkin Road to the purpose-built centre and Lord Mayor David Fullman carried out the official opening.

It marks quite a turnaround for the centre. In 2011, it was at real risk of closure, which would have left nearly a dozen groups homeless.

The centre's committee, the South Harford and Tuckswood Community Association, had dwindled from eight to just three volunteers and the future looked bleak.

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But, as part of an agreement linked to Norwich City Council granting planning permission for the Hall Road Asda store, the supermarket company was required to provide a new community centre.

However, in December last year, there was a wrangle over how much Asda would pay for the internal fittings of the building.

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Asda capped their budget at £70,000, less than half the city council's £162,000 cost estimate for making the centre fit for purpose.

The trustees of the centre launched a campaign, which resulted in a U-turn by the superstore – and yesterday the public got to see the results.

People were welcomed from midday, with a programme of children's activities, including the opportunity to meet Marshall from the popular children's television show Paw Patrol.

People got to find out more about what the centre offers for social clubs and organisations, community education courses and hire for family celebrations.

There was also music, a bar and buffet in the evening.

Michele Neave, community centre trustee and a founder of Norwich Best for Pets, one of the groups which uses the new hall, said: 'The climax of our community celebrations was the welcoming of the Lord Mayor to open the new centre.

'I believe this acknowledges the integral role these centres have at the heart of our neighbourhoods.'

For further information on the activities which are offered at the centre and to hire the community hall, contact the centre's manager Ian Wells on 0844 6651034.

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