Norwich’s Phoenix Centre rises up from the ashes with new mural

BT Openreach customer service engineers volunteer to paint a mural at the Phoenix Centre. From left,

BT Openreach customer service engineers volunteer to paint a mural at the Phoenix Centre. From left, Ian Costello, Carl Dye, Richard Miller, Aimee Long, Stuart Tough, David Wyer, Sharon Gilman, and the designer, Mark Towler. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

A picturesque scene of the Norfolk Broads is being brought to life by volunteers helping to repair £100,000 worth of fire damage at a Norwich community centre.

BT Openreach customer service engineers volunteer to paint a mural at the Phoenix Centre. Picture: D

BT Openreach customer service engineers volunteer to paint a mural at the Phoenix Centre. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

Work started today at the Phoenix Centre, in Mile Cross Road, on a mural depicting a Fenland scene, which will include an impressive painting of a Norfolk Wherry.

The Phoenix Centre on Mile Cross Road that was badly damaged by fire in December 2010. Photo: Steve

The Phoenix Centre on Mile Cross Road that was badly damaged by fire in December 2010. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

It comes following the 2012 fire at the centre which happened just before Christmas, causing £100,000 of damage and leaving charities and voluntary groups without a home.

Trustee and volunteer Sonia Kiddell said the project was the final piece of the puzzle in reversing the destruction caused by the blaze.

'We did have a mural before which showed a jungle and seaside theme,' she said. 'But now we have something different and it's brilliant.

'It's the last piece of major work to be put right.'

The project came about after Ms Kiddell applied to the BT Community Challenge to help restore the garden area at the back of the building.

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Over three days, a team of BT volunteers, made up mainly of local engineers, will paint the mural, fix fences, restore windows, install a bird box and create a small garden. The work is expected to be completed on Friday.

Ms Kiddell added: 'I could not believe it when we got the phone call to say they would be coming to help us. It was just an idea we had in the pipeline to do another mural but we were very happy when they said they could design it for us and do it.'

Aimee Long is a BT Open Reach engineer who lives locally. Offering her help, her main role has been painting the mural.

She said: 'It's been really brilliant and fun working on the project but also very rewarding and satisfying. I've enjoyed helping my community.'

Richard Edwards, press officer for the Phoenix Centre committee and the Green Party's Mile Cross candidate for next month's city council elections, also praised the project.

• Are you involved with a community project? Contact reporter Donna-Louise Bishop on 01603 693892, email donna-louise.bishop@archant.co.uk or follow on Twitter @donnaloubishop.

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