'We are not giving up' - Ongoing struggle to save city club

Norwich CEYMS members including David Clarke are striving to save the Brigg Street premises from closure

Norwich CEYMS members including David Clarke are striving to save the Brigg Street premises from closure - Credit: Archant

Members desperately trying to secure the future of a city centre gym believe their efforts are continuing to fall on deaf ears.

The Norwich Church of England Young Men's Society (CEYMS) premises in Brigg Street are currently being used just one evening a week for table tennis matches.

But the gym, squash and snooker tables have been gathering dust since March 2020 as members were sent a letter saying the trustees intended to close the site permanently.

The Norwich Church of England Young Men’s Society (CEYMS) on Brigg Street. Photo: Courtney Pochin

The gym at the Norwich CEYMS premises in Brigg Street which remains closed - Credit: Archant

Member David Clarke, 76, whose son, father and grandfather have had membership since the 1890s, personally met with trustee Adam Owen in a bid to keep the Brigg Street premises going.

Mr Clarke, who owns City Bookshop, said: "The members have put forward all sorts of ideas for bringing Brigg Street up to date.

"These include turning the unused squash courts into rooms for gym weights and allowing a more fluid and mixed gender membership.

David Clarke outside his shop, City Bookshop, which has fared well over the Christmas Period in Dave

Norwich CEYMS member David Clarke outside his shop, City Bookshop - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

"Adam was of the view there is no demand for this. We could attract a more economic membership in the city centre.

"We want to take on a feasibility study bring Brigg Street up to scratch. We have not given up." 

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The society which is solvent and supported by rents from the two shops on the street frontage has lost its paid administrator but continues to run its football and cricket teams at the Hilltops Sports Ground in Swardeston.

A change of use planning application for Burger King to take on one of the downstairs units has recently been granted by Norwich City Council after the trustees made a reletting rental arrangement.

The Norwich Church of England Young Men’s Society (CEYMS) on Brigg Street. Photo: Courtney Pochin

Snooker tables inside the Norwich CEYMS city centre premises - Credit: Archant

Mike Kett, 77, who has been coordinating the members' action group, said the Burger King move endorses his view the trustees are "hellbent on closing" the CEYMS premises.

He added: "The trustees are not acting in the best interests of the members but they are not doing anything legally wrong so we are stuck with them.

"Even if they did go, it would be difficult to replace them from the existing membership as we are all in our mid to late 70s. It is not really something we would be able to take on."

The trustees have been contacted.