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Hopes high over plan for new Norwich community centre

Olly Day brings some smiles to Hilda Bullen and Ian Gibson at the Silver Rooms open day on Sunday. Photo: Bill Smith

Olly Day brings some smiles to Hilda Bullen and Ian Gibson at the Silver Rooms open day on Sunday. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2011

Campaigners battling to create a new community centre in Norwich have given families a taste of what might be on offer if they succeed in their efforts.

The Silver Rooms in Silver Road, in north city, are owned by Norfolk County Council and currently used to provide a club for elderly people.

But the county council is no longer directly providing services like that and sees the future of the elderly people who use the Silver Rooms elsewhere, with friendship groups moved to other locations for club meetings.

Rather than see the Silver Rooms stand empty, campaigners, including former Norwich North MP Ian Gibson, have spent the past two-and-a-half years calling for the building to remain in community use.

They want to acquire the building from the county council and run it as a community centre. To demonstrate what might be on offer, and to get more views on what people want to see there, the Friends of the Silver Road Community Centre Group held a showcase there yesterday.

The fun included entertainer Olly Day, dancing, a zumba class, keep fit, games on the Wii console, singing from youngsters at Mousehold Infant and Nursery School, role playing and the chance to try international food.

Julie Brociek-Coulton, Norwich City councillor for Sewell ward, who has been one of the main campaigners, said: “It has gone brilliantly, we had up to 250 people there.

“We had all sorts of people coming forward wanting to get involved and it was a real community event. We were showing people plans of what we hope to do with the building and people were really positive about it.”

Richard Edwards, Green Party county councillor for Mile Cross and a member of Sewell Community Group, said: “I’ll be very pleased if the Silver Rooms continue to be used for the local community.”

The Friends have scheduled a meeting with Norfolk County Council on Thursday, November 17 where they hope to move the plans along further.

The group is hoping to apply for grants and to obtain charity status.

• Are you trying to transform a building for the good of the local community? Call Evening News reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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