Your chance to help Meet Up in Thetford get cut of £250k fund

The Meet Up cafe in Thetford is trying to raise money for repairs to the building they use in St Mar

The Meet Up cafe in Thetford is trying to raise money for repairs to the building they use in St Martins Way. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

A youth and community hub is seeking help from people in its local area to help it secure a share of a £250,000 prize fund in a national competition.

The Meet Up cafe in Thetford is trying to raise money for repairs to the building they use in St Mar

The Meet Up cafe in Thetford is trying to raise money for repairs to the building they use in St Martins Way. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Meet Up, on the Redcastle Furze estate in Thetford, has been nominated as a finalist in the Jewson Building Better Communities competition and is in line for a share of the monetary prize.

The centre beat 1,800 nominated projects around the UK to reach the final stages, but now needs help from the community to ensure its slice of the funding.

People have until June 19 to cast their vote in the Jewson Facebook page for their preferred project.

Winners will also be treated to building materials from Jewson to help create warm and welcoming community spaces.


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Launched in 2010, the Meet Up has helped thousands of people of all ages and was made possible by Lottery funding.

But according to the Benjamin Foundation, which runs the hub, its building is in need of renovations.

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Mike Towndrow, manager at Meet Up, said: 'We help people to raise their aspirations and believe in themselves, which in turn benefits the wider community.

'Each of these people have the potential to become successful employees, innovators and leaders of the future; so if they are successful, our wider community is successful.

'Meet Up received Big Lottery funding in 2014 which covers the cost of facilitating activities and events that we run.

'But it doesn't cover building maintenance and repair costs which is why we're reaching out to our community to try and help.'

Meet Up holds regular parent and toddler groups as well as lunch clubs for Thetford's senior citizens. Over 100 young people regularly attend the twice weekly youth clubs, and Meet Up also offers practical sessions to support young people with job searching, CV writing and life skills like budgeting and cooking.

David Fenton, marketing director at Jewson, said: 'Supporting the communities where we live and work is so important to us, and hearing the heart-warming tales of some of last year's projects motivated us to do even more to help boost community spirit up and down the UK.'

To vote for Meet Up to win the Jewson competition, go to www.facebook.com/jewsonuk.

For more information on how to help or donate to Meet Up, contact mike.towndrow@benjaminfoundation.co.uk or call 01842 820871. You can also email karen.smith@benjaminfoundation.co.uk or call 01603 615670.

Following an appeal to local businesses earlier this year for help towards its renovations, the Meet Up Café has received its first pledge of support.

The hub recently announced it needs to raise £30,000 to fix the roof of its building on the Redcastle Furze estate and a further £15,000 for additional maintenance and repair works.

As a result, Norfolk business The Anglia Group has pledged to donate materials including radiators, sinks and handrails to the centre.

Kate Lambert, business operations manager at The Anglia Group, said: 'We heard about Meet Up's fundraising drive via social media and immediately wanted to help. Our donation will go some way to helping to refurbish the inside of the building, which needs maintaining as well as the outside.

'We are pleased to be the first business to offer support and hopefully this will pave the way for others to follow suit.'

Mike Towndrow, manager at Meet Up, has encouraged users of the service as well as other residents and local businesses to get involved with fundraising for the centre, by organising events or pledging materials or professional time.

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