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All Saints’ Centre for vulnerable people in Norwich to close after 35 years

PUBLISHED: 16:54 24 June 2014 | UPDATED: 17:11 24 June 2014

The All Saints Centre and Sanctuary Cafe which are due to close unless funding can be found.
Photo by Simon Finlay.

The All Saints Centre and Sanctuary Cafe which are due to close unless funding can be found. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Archant Norfolk.

A centre which has helped homeless and other vulnerable people for more than 35 years will close next week, despite rising demand for its services.

The All Saints’ Centre, in a converted church opposite John Lewis in Norwich, provides a cafe and place to rest and socialise for dozens of people every day.

However, it has told its users that it will shut next Monday.

Its trustees blamed rising expenses, including rent, heat and light, a fall in people spending money in the centre, and difficulties securing grant funding.

They also said the Norwich Historic Churches’ Trust, from whom they rent the building, had been unable to agree a more affordable rent.

In a statement, the trustees said: “The trustees are naturally concerned for their faithful and committed members of staff who are losing their jobs at the end of the month, and also for their volunteers who will no longer be able to continue their service to the community at All Saints.

“One such volunteer has been involved every week for over 30 years and others have special needs and it is feared that other placements will not be available that are appropriate to their needs.

“All Saints’ has been part of the city of Norwich for 35 years, has evolved through the vision, faith, energy, unconditional love, commitment and sheer determination of a whole host of people and will leave a huge gap.

“For some, the closure will mean having nowhere to go that is warm, welcoming and offering somewhere to stay with no obligation; some have made this their 2nd home for countless years and for others it will be like losing its family.

“All Saints’ Centre has for many years administered the Food Voucher Scheme, whereby people can give vouchers instead of cash to people asking for money in and around Norwich and which recipients can redeem at All Saints’ Centre for nutritious food and hot drinks. This scheme will therefore be discontinued unless someone else is prepared to administer it from another venue.”

Janet Wyer, chaplain to the centre and chair of Norwich Central Churches Together will call an emergency meeting of its members to discuss what can be done to offer alternative facilities for those who rely on the centre.

Has All Saints’ Centre helped you? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk or phone 01603 772468.

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