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Fantastic charity and venue MUST continue to be an asset for Norwich

PUBLISHED: 11:49 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:58 16 April 2020

Open Up at The Open event in Norwich. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Open Up at The Open event in Norwich. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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Open Norwich was a truly fantastic place.

Editor of the EDP David Powles and Sir Norman Lamb speaking at Open up at the Open event. Picture: Victoria PertusaEditor of the EDP David Powles and Sir Norman Lamb speaking at Open up at the Open event. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

In so many ways it was the perfect venue. It entertained thousands yearly through gigs, shows, beer festivals and award nights - and more importantly any money it made went towards doing good for hundreds of youngsters in the county. What a superb model if you can make it work.

MORE: “Devastating” blow as Norwich charity Open announces closure

It’s a place that over the years I have grown to love, in fact I used to jokingly refer to it as my second home. Work is my first and home my third, in case you were wondering.

This newspaper has enjoyed a fantastic relationship with the charity and its brilliant staff, who I’d like to thank in this column for all that they did there. They’ve hosted awards nights, took on our Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards and most recently teamed up with us for the Open Up at Open mental health day - which I think sadly may have in fact ended up being the final public event there.

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Away from work, I visited it regularly for gigs, would head there to appear on Future Radio, which was based within it’s gargantuan interior, and it even helped me to realise a long-held dream when it agreed to host both a 90s and 80s music night I’m involved with.

I truly believed in the work they did - and I know so too did their dedicated staff and the many others who fell in love with the place and supported it in one way or another.

That’s why today is a truly sad day for this city and county. It’s a sad day for the children it helped with all manner of services and projects. It’s a sad day for the staff. It’s a sad day for the people it entertained.

Sadly, in the end, the model no longer stacked up. The venue lost a large chunk of lottery money, it needed to become self-sustainable and coronavirus proved to be the tipping point.

MORE: “It’s just so devastating” - OPEN chief speaks of heartache after charity and venue closes

I’d love to think it can rise from the ashes and we as a paper will do anything possible to make that happen. At the very least it’s a stunning venue and building which MUST continue to be used as an asset for this city.


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