Not just building homes – creating communities

Memories of being taught how to keep a house clean and sheltering as the bombs dropped over Norwich were revived by news that the old Dowson School site in the city is still playing a leading role in community life.

I recently told you the site is now a development of 47 homes which are made up of one wheelchair flat, houses, flats, bungalows and affordable housing. Every one of the homes built for Broadland Housing Authority is now fully occupied.

Now a new community room has been opened by Broadland Housing's chief executive, Michael Newey, together with Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich City Council, and Tony Tomkinson, chairman of Norfolk County Council.

Carved into the bricks at the new community room are the names of the children who were the first Dowson pupils in 1926 and photographs of the old school now decorate the walls of the community room.

'This housing initiative is a great example of how the needs of a community can best be served. The site's original purpose was to educate children within this area and now it has evolved to meet the housing needs of the community,' said Michael.

And Steve added: 'We always say we don't just build homes, we build communities. This is a great example of working with an existing community and partner something special the whole area can relate to and be proud of.'

'This is an exciting development created on the site of two schools which have been replaced with modern facilities. the community room will be a reminder of the links between past, present and future,' said county council chairman Tony,

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Alision Thomas, cabinet member for childrens's services at Norfolk County Council, said they had worked closely with Broadland Housing to support the project and have helped former pupils to capture their memories for use in the new community room.

'I am thrilled to see the former Dowson First School building put to such positive use for the local community,' she said.