'Just £1 each' - Bid to transform ex-bank into community hub launched
- Credit: North Walsham Phoenix Group
People in and around North Walsham have been asked to chip in to help transform a disused bank into a community hub.
The North Walsham Phoenix Group are hoping to raise £20,000 in an online appeal towards an overall sum of around £150,000 needed for the project, at the former Barclays branch in Market Place.
Mal Gray, the group's chairman, said: "We want people to take ownership of the building and the vision of having something for everyone in the town. We've all endured such a terrible year and this is about looking forward to something brighter and better, and we've had a great response so far.
"If everyone could just give £1 it would make so much of a difference."
The idea for the project came about after a survey of the town's young people revealed a need for a centre with a mix of community facilities.
The group has now secured a 10-year lease on the former bank building, which closed in January 2019.
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Mr Gray said: "We realised it wasn't just the youth that felt a disconnect with the town, it was everybody who wanted something focal."
Facilities planned for the future 'Phoenix Centre' include a meeting place, youth social gathering spot and sensory room on the ground floor, as well as a community help desk and an accessible toilet.
The upper two floors will be office space for hot-desking and short-term lease, and the basement will be converted into a professional performance and recording studio.
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But Mr Gray said they still had a long way to go to reach their target for the project, which would include replacing the lift to make all floors accessible to wheelchair users.
He said: "The overall idea is that it will be a focal point for information in the town. If people are unsure about something and they need help, there will be someone manning a desk who will be able to point them in the right direction."
Mr Gray said as well as donations, they were keen to hear from people who could lend a hand with the building works.
He said the goal was to have at least part of the building open to the public by spring.