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Question mark hangs over future of popular community centre

PUBLISHED: 14:49 28 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:49 28 June 2020

Eaton Park Community Centre. Pic: Dan Grimmer

Eaton Park Community Centre. Pic: Dan Grimmer

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A question mark is hanging over what the future holds for one of Norwich’s community centres, because members of its long-standing management committee are retiring.

Liberal Democrat councillors Brian Watkins, Caroline Ackroyd and Judith Lubbock clear weeds from the entrance to the community centre. Pic: Norwich Liberal Democrats.Liberal Democrat councillors Brian Watkins, Caroline Ackroyd and Judith Lubbock clear weeds from the entrance to the community centre. Pic: Norwich Liberal Democrats.

Eaton Park Community Centre faces an uncertain future, but council bosses have insisted they want to keep it running and do not intend to permanently shut it.

The centre opened in 1982, after a group of people got together five years previously to raise money to build it.

They felt the communities around Eaton Park needed a place to meet for clubs and activities.

But, with members of the management committee retiring after many years - at a time when the centre is currently shut because of the coronavirus pandemic - Liberal Democrat councillors for Eaton are keen that their departure does not mean the centre stays shut.

James Wright, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at City Hall, said “They have done a fantastic job of managing this community centre, some members serving for over 20 years on the committee.

“The management committee ensured that it is well used, financially well managed and well looked after.

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“We now hope that another group of people, equally dedicated will want to manage this vital centre for the community for years to come.

“We understand that the city council is taking this opportunity to undertake a ‘review of the centre’ and how it is used. However as Eaton councillors we want to ensure that it re-opens as quickly as possible.”

Bosses at City Hall said they were keen to get the centre re-opened.

A spokeswoman for Norwich City Council said: “The community centre is an important aspect of Eaton Park and we have no plans for that to change.

“We are proud to see this as the basis of a thriving community hub in the park which meets the needs of people in the local area and beyond.

“We would like to thank the current committee for all their tireless work over the years.

“Discussions around the reopening of the centre are ongoing, and we are working towards that happening as soon as possible.”

All Norwich’s council-owned community centres are closed due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions.


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