Norwich Centre which supports others is now appealing for your help

Nigel Christian, Charing Cross Centre Manager.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY. Nigel Christian, Charing Cross Centre Manager. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
7:42 AM

A Norwich centre which has spent 40 years supporting Norfolk’s charities is itself appealing for help after a 22% cut in its funding.

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History of the Charing Cross Centre

• The centre was launched in 1965 by the former Norwich Education Committee of the Norwich City Council as the “Three C’s” coffee bar for young people, which closed in 1973.

• Following local government reorganisation in 1974 the building passed to Norfolk County Council and was re-opened as a centre for organisations caring in and for the community.

• The early years were a struggle, with funds hard to raise, but a building fund was established by the trustees and in 1982, with the help of Norfolk County Council, a major reconstruction programme was carried out to provide purpose-built accommodation on the first floor.

The Charing Cross Centre provides a home for a wide range of organisations who make a difference to the people of Norwich and Norfolk and has seen a number of well-known organisations, such as Voluntary Norfolk, start life in its rooms.

But now the centre, in St John Maddermarket, has relaunched its website to raise awareness of its room hire service in a bid to recoup the £22,000 shortfall in its running costs.

The Charing Cross Centre is home to a wide range of organisations, including the Alzheimer’s Society, Indigo Dyslexia Centre, Norfolk Carers Support and Norfolk Youth Projects.

It has nine rooms which it rents out for other charities to use as a low-cost base in the heart of the city.

But it also has two large rooms and two smaller rooms available to book for conferences, meetings, training courses and seminars, and through the website it hopes it can promote these to a wider audience to help meet the funding gap.

The revenue generated helps the centre maintain the historic building, which dates back to the 1500 and is believed to have been the home of John Marsham, mayor of Norwich in 1518.

Nigel Christian, Charing Cross Centre manager, said: “It was a huge blow to lose our funding. We have done a great deal for our residents and hirers, some of whom are in a similar situation, as well as maintain a large, old building.

“It has left us in a situation where to keep in a break-even position will be virtually impossible, but we will endeavour to meet the needs of our hirers and residents.”

He said the centre, which needs £100,000 a year to keep running, had already made a couple of redundancies.

Commenting as a tenant of Charing Cross, Indigo Dyslexia Centre’s chief executive Martin Parsonage said: “The Indigo Dyslexia Centre has always found the Charing Cross Centre to be a warm and friendly environment for the development of it as a social enterprise.

“Over the years, Indigo Dyslexia has rented many rooms and offices throughout the centre and has always found the centre to be the perfect venue for its needs inside the voluntary sector.

“Charing Cross Centre has a long history of supporting charities and voluntary sector agencies and has always been here for Indigo.”

• For more information about the centre and its room hire, visit www.thecxc.co.uk

• Have you been helped by the Charing Cross Centre? Email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk

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