Revised plans at Norwich’s Hamlet Centre

PUBLISHED: 07:40 07 June 2011 | UPDATED: 10:00 07 June 2011

Michael Rooney, chief executive of The Hamlet Centre Trust.

Michael Rooney, chief executive of The Hamlet Centre Trust.

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The boss of a charity for children and adults with disablities says it has decided to postpone the opening of its new
Norwich centre – but only so that more building work can take place to put it ahead of its original schedule.

Norwich’s Hamlet Centre Trust teamed up with the St Raphael Club in Johnson Place to turn the venue into a new £1.3m base for its children’s activities and services.

Work started last year on the £1.3m major transformation of the building, and the first phase is still on track to be finished in the next few weeks.

But instead of opening this month as initially planned, trustees have decided to plough straight into the second phase, with a view to opening in September.

The first phase of the project is to create an external play area, a dining room, a quiet room, some offices, a play room, care rooms, craft and IT rooms.

The second phase will create a new entrance and frontage, and will move the charity’s popular toy library at its existing Ella Road base to the new centre.

Chief executive Michael Rooney said: “We are delighted with the standard work that has been done so far, and how it is looking.

“We will now open in September, not June, but it’s for a positive reason, meaning that all our children’s services can now be based at the new site, leaving all of Ella Road for our adult service.

“Fundraising goes well, but we still need people’s support to push us towards our headline target, which is £1.3m.

“We anticipate that the two phases described will cost around £1m, with the third phase coming later.

“We currently have around £840,000 raised or pledged.”

The third and final phase will create a new sensory room and store rooms. Costing about £200,000 to £250,000, this is hoped to be completed at a later date.

Volunteers are also hoping to raise some money to be able to redecorate the Ella Road building for adults.

The charity has also recently set up a gift list of items it needs to equip the new building, and which it is appealing for people to help buy.

More information about the gift list and how to donate is available at by calling 01603 616094 or by email at

Do you have a charity story for us? Contact Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email

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