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Struggling Norwich science centre to go into hibernation

PUBLISHED: 15:00 03 December 2010

Inspire Centre to cut hours to save costs

Inspire Centre to cut hours to save costs

Archant

Bosses at an under threat science centre have revealed plans to "hibernate" over the next two months as the facility receives a welcome boost.

In a bid to cut costs, Norwich’s Inspire Discovery Centre will be closed mid-week, except for pre-booked groups, and will only open at the weekend.

The news comes after it was revealed that the centre, which is based in St Michael’s Church, Oak Street, was again facing a fight for its future as it struggles to meet its overheads. The centre was saved from the brink of closure in 2008 but, despite increasing visitor numbers since then, still finds itself struggling to survive.

Meanwhile, the centre received a much-needed boost on Wednesday when representatives from environmental consultants Delta-Simons, which has offices in Norwich, presented them with a £100 cheque.

Alexandra Minns, from the centre, said: “We will be going into a little hibernation through December and January and will re-open normally in February.

“During these months we will be able to cut costs, sort out some staple funding and plan for next year.

“Traditionally December and January are our quietest months in the year so it makes sense not spending money by opening the centre if no one is going to come.”

Birthday parties and groups of eight or more will still be able to access the centre during the week on a pre-booked basis.

Otherwise, the centre, which is the only hands-on science facility in the county, will just be open from 11am to 5pm at weekends. Normal hours will resume at the start of February, which is the centre’s busiest time.

The idea came from the Save Our Science (SOS) meeting which was recently organised by the centre.

As reported, the meeting at the Forum in Norwich gave businesses and other interested parties the chance to suggest some new ideas to keep the centre running.

The meeting also saw the launch of the All I Want for Christmas campaign – a wish list to other businesses featuring some of the basic equipment and resources needed to keep the centre running.

Alex Gray, marketing and events manager for Delta-Simons, said: “We saw the story in the paper and wanted to get involved. We have a community fund pot and we look out for local causes which we think we can help with.”

Anyone who wants to donate to Inspire Discovery Centre, should go to www.saveinspire.com or call 01603 612612.

Do you know anyone who is doing something to help save Inspire? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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