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New team to run park community centre that closed in April

PUBLISHED: 06:00 07 October 2020

Eaton Park Community Centre. Pic: Dan Grimmer

Eaton Park Community Centre. Pic: Dan Grimmer

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A fresh team is in charge of a park community hub and looking at new ways of running it after coronavirus forced it to close.

A group of embroiderers at Eaton Park Community Centre pictured before the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Steve AdamsA group of embroiderers at Eaton Park Community Centre pictured before the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Steve Adams

After nearly 40 years, the founding members of Eaton Park Community Centre in Norwich have stepped down to make way for a younger team.

The committee decided to pass on responsibility of the centre after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK this year and closed the building in April.

Helen Mitchell, chair of Friends of Eaton Park. Photo: Victoria PertusaHelen Mitchell, chair of Friends of Eaton Park. Photo: Victoria Pertusa

To help the centre stay open for future generations and families, Norwich City Council staff have worked with volunteer group the Friends of Eaton Park so the building can continue.

The new committee is developing Covid-safe systems for activities to be able to take place again.

Stuart Beard, former chair of Friends of Eaton Park, said: “The centre is an important community resource and it is located in the park so we had to have a proper think about it. It’s a great building that is built to last and has been well looked after. We wanted to see it carry on.”

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During the community centre annual general meeting Mr Beard was voted in as new chairman and will lead a small new committee.

Helen Mitchell, previous chair of friends group offered to stand in again as chair of the organisation.

Mr Beard added: “When we started looking at the community centre I found myself getting really excited about the possibilities. As a primary school headteacher in my previous life I always quite enjoyed managing the buildings and the prospects for developing the centre are really exciting.

“I’d like to get WiFi installed, and use new technology more to streamline the running. I hope we can get more young people using it and it would be great to have an open day for the community to come in and have a good look round.”

Mrs Mitchell said: “Friends of Eaton Park were pleased to be asked to help find a solution for the community centre. It was great working with the community enabling team and we are all pleased with the outcome. We’re really keen to help Stuart as he looks to re-open the centre.”

The centre opened in 1982 after a five-year fundraising campaign and over the years the centre has included line-dancing and karate clubs, toddler groups, religious and political organisations, music, language and craft groups.


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