Norfolk youth centre gets new suspended ceiling

Local Councillor Keith Kiddie (left) and Diss Town Council maintenance manager Robert Ludkin with so

Local Councillor Keith Kiddie (left) and Diss Town Council maintenance manager Robert Ludkin with some of the insulation and roof tiles that are forming the new suspended ceiling in Diss Youth Centre on Shelfanger Road. - Credit: Archant

Work has started on the next phase of major renovations at a Diss youth centre with the installation of a new suspended ceiling.

Workmen have been busy refurbishing the Diss Youth and Community Centre in Shelfanger Road since the start of the year and have this week been putting the suspended ceiling in place, which they hope to have completed by the end of the week.

Keith Kiddie, one of the centre's trustees, said the ceiling was made from special acoustic tiles which would help to reduce the noise from bands using the top floor of the building.

He added that the ceiling would also help to brighten the centre up while making the building more energy efficient.

He said: 'When bands played at the centre prior to the renovation it was like playing inside a big box and anything that helps to deaden that sound will help to improve the centre no end.'

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The cost of the ceiling itself is expected to be £4,000 while overall the renovation work is expected to cost £30,000.

Mr Kiddie added: 'We are doing it a step at a time and it will be quite a significant investment, but hopefully the users and the youth club will feel the benefit from it.'

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However, the trustees have had to overcome a few hitches with the project, such as the discovery of potentially harmful asbestos, which forced the temporary closure of the centre.

Contractors removed the asbestos from panels around single framed metal windows on the top floor of the Diss Youth and Community Centre before Easter, enabling work to resume replacing the windows with double glazing.

The improvements to the top floor were stopped in January following the discovery of the material, which has been banned in the UK since 1985 after being linked to lung diseases, though there was no risk to any centre users as the material had not been disturbed.

The centre's trustees have received £40,000 of grant funding from the Norfolk Community Fund, South Norfolk Council, Norfolk County Council's Construction Fund, Awards for All and a small amount of infrastructure money from developers to pay for the improvements.

As well as replacing the top floor windows, panes were also being replaced on the bottom floor, while other refurbishments included new flooring, blinds and a suspended ceiling to make it more energy efficient.

Mr Kiddie said the trustees hoped the work to the centre would be completed by the summer.

The centre was saved by an anonymous donor, who stepped in to buy the facility when it was being sold by the county council as part of cutbacks to reduce the national debt.

As well as a regular youth club, the centre also plays host to events and activities including collectors fayres, art group meetings and dance events and judo classes.

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