Oddfellows Hall revamp as Sheringham’s Upcher Community Partnership fights back

A community partnership that faced possible closure when its funding was axed has drawn up a battle plan to ensure that it survives and thrives.

Sheringham's Upcher Community Partnership endured a financial nightmare earlier this year when North Norfolk District Council decided to end its funding to five town partnerships.

But, despite being forced to give up its Station Road shop in June, resolute staff were determined to not let the organisation die.

And they have devised a plan that includes:

? Moving into Oddfellows Hall to offer advice and support on two afternoons each week

? Revamping its Experience Sheringham brand, including the website and leaflets

? Refurbishing Oddfellows Hall throughout August, to make it more user-friendly

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? Setting up a desk and internet connection at the hall for the use of small start-up businesses

? Applying to the Reaching Communities Lottery Fund for money to take it through the next five years.

Partnership manager Janet Farrow said: 'We've had so much feedback from people who missed us when we left Station Road. We are quite excited about what the future holds.

'We are looking to turn Oddfellows into a community hub. I will be in there two afternoons a week, and the jobs board will be back up.

'There will be a hot desk for people to access the internet.'

She added: 'We had reserves because we had been good with our housekeeping. That enabled us to stay at Station Road until June.

'We still have Experience Sheringham and Oddfellows Hall, which are just about sustainable. We are now trying to improve their sustainability.'

She said there was a 'major damp problem' at Oddfellows, and a �3,000 grant from Norfolk Community Foundation was going towards dry-lining and installing an upstairs toilet.

'We are also having it re-decorated right through, so it will be closed for the month of August.'

Sheringham Town Council had helped the partnership by allowing Mrs Farrow to use an office at the town hall.

But she said the time was right to set up shop at Oddfellows Hall, which is run by the partnership and used by local organisations.

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