YMCA Norfolk involved in exciting project to transform Norwich community hall

Jubilee Hall, Aylsham Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jubilee Hall, Aylsham Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A Norwich community hall once used by veterans and their families could be taken over by a charity which helps disadvantaged young people, it has emerged.

Jubilee Hall, which was once used by the Royal British Legion, was bought in 2015 by the Lind Trust after it closed despite a long-running, hard fought campaign to keep it open.

It was hoped the hall might reopen this year as a 'multi-generational community facility' after ambitious plans were unveiled by the Norwich Jubilee Centre Charitable Foundation (NJCCF) in 2016.

But in the past few months the building has been taken over by YMCA Norfolk which is looking at whether it can turn the site into an exciting community asset.

Tim Sweeting, YMCA Norfolk chief executive, said: 'We've had responsibility for the building since November and we've been using the time since then to explore whether we can find a sustainable future for it.

'That's the hope but we're not in a position to confirm whether that's going to be possible yet.'

It is understood General Lord Dannatt, chairman of the trustees of the NJCCF, who is also president of YMCA Norfolk, will still be involved in the project. As reported in September last year, the Aylsham Road-based centre was repeatedly targeted by raiders.

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Thieves had stolen lead from the roof while squatters and drug users had also forced their way into the empty property which has since had security stepped up on the site.

Those responsible for the site said the stolen material would also be replaced, but not with lead.

After taking over the building the NJCCF had a full survey done which revealed £195,000 would be needed to re-open the building safely although the full refurbishment would cost in the region of £625,000.

The hall's closure was first announced in 2013, with Royal British Legion bosses saying that to keep it open would be to pose an 'unacceptable risk' to charitable funds.

It was expected to close on January 1 2014, as the branch could no longer continue to operate it, as they could not afford the monthly outgoings.

But it was granted a stay of execution after city councillors applied to get the social club listed as an asset of community value under the Localism Act.

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