'Future may be positive'-Members push for club's survival at meeting

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

Inside the Norwich CEYMS premises in Brigg Street - Credit: Archant

Members of an historic city social and sports club on the brink of closure believe there is a ray of light for the building. 

The Norwich Church of England Young Men's Society (CEYMS) premises in Brigg Street have been closed since March 2020. 

Members received a letter in October informing them a decision had been taken to close the premises permanently

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

The Norwich Church of England Young Men's Society (CEYMS) in Brigg Street - Credit: Archant

But a "stay of execution" was agreed during a meeting with trustees on Monday as members called for a way forward to make the premises more relevant to the sporting requirements of the county. 

Member David Clarke, 75, said: "Brigg Street will remain closed for the time being until an agreement can be worked out, but I do actually think that the future may be positive." 

The premises, which were built following the Baedeker Raids during the Second World War, offers facilities for table tennis, snooker, squash and a gym. 

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A picture of the Norwich CEYMS team which was sold at an auction in October 2008 - Credit: Archant

Mike Kett, who has been coordinating the member's action group, said: "The meeting was quite clearly to justify the decision trustees had made about closing the premises.

"However the comeback and reaction from members was sufficient to just take a small step backwards and listen to few of us over the course of the next months and look at ways to find a way forward." 

The CEYMS Hilltop Sports Ground in Swardeston, where cricket and football is played, will be unaffected by the future of the city centre site. 

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Mr Kett said: "The Brigg Street premises could be utilised better than they are at the present time. They require cooperation and outlay to process those changes. 

"Two suggestions were on the lines that the squash court could be used for improving the gym facilities and turning it into a proper gymnasium rather than a weight-lifting space.

"Even the a-board says it is a gentleman's club which is a sort of 1950s expression that would not appeal to a modern generation." 

Mr Kett suggested converting an underused television room into an internet café.

Chairman Peter Thomas confirmed the trustees are willing to listen to the members but declined to comment any further. 

Trustee Adam Owen has been contacted for comment.