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Celebration of success as community breathes new life into former Norwich post office

The Stage on St Augustine's Street, Norwich, celebrating its 2000th hire since opening. The Lord Mayor of Norwich, David Fullman, at the event.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Stage on St Augustine's Street, Norwich, celebrating its 2000th hire since opening. The Lord Mayor of Norwich, David Fullman, at the event. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Volunteers who helped to turn a partially derelict post office and sandwich shop into a thriving centre for the community have just celebrated their 2,000th hire.

The Stage on St Augustine's Street, Norwich, celebrating its 2000th hire since opening.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY The Stage on St Augustine's Street, Norwich, celebrating its 2000th hire since opening. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Stage, in St Augustine’s Street, was set up in 2012 by a group of people who live and work in the area.

They have breathed new life into the empty building and sparked what the centre manager called a “mini-renaissance’.

And today, they were visited by Norwich’s Lord Mayor David Fullman as they marked hitting the 2,000 hire landmark.

Stuart McLaren, who manages The Stage and is chairman of the St Augustine’s Community Together Residents’ Association, said; “With the generous help of the owner, Broadland Housing Association, and with grants and donations from local charities and businesses, the empty premises were completely refurbished and redecorated.

“The Stage was launched in July 2012 as a not-for-profit hireable community space, run entirely by local volunteers, helping to spark a mini-renaissance on the street.”

The work they have done means the centre has two adjoining rooms, with a large kitchen area. They have installed broadband and made it fully wheelchair accessible.

Mr McLaren said: “Now a thriving centre, The Stage offers its facilities to local charities and community enterprises such as Norwich Credit Union, New Routes Integration, Cruse Bereavement Care, Norwich FarmShare and the Sussex Street Cohousing Association.

“It has hosted classes in art history, Buddhist meditation, creative writing and parenting skills, as well as providing a rehearsal space for drama groups and a classroom for training days..

“The Stage is particularly proud to host groups providing advocacy, advice and language learning for refugees and asylum seekers.”

He said The Stage had to set a hire fee to cover running costs, but kept it as low as possible, so groups were able to make use of it.

At yesterday’s special celebration, the city’s Lord Mayor met the trustees, the volunteers and groups which hire The Stage.

• To hire The Stage, call 01603 926640 or 07884 975069 or email info@stagenorwich.co.uk

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