Search

Community hub to transform town centre store at former pub site

PUBLISHED: 16:52 10 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:52 10 August 2020

The Allsorts community hub is set to move into the former Coes Menswear store in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

The Allsorts community hub is set to move into the former Coes Menswear store in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

Archant

A community hub is set to transform a former pub and prestigious retailer.

The Allsorts Support Services logo. Picture: AllsortsThe Allsorts Support Services logo. Picture: Allsorts

Allsorts Support Services CIC – a family run non-profit community support group – will be moving into the family retail store, Coes of Lowestoft.

The building on Bevan Street East in Lowestoft had been converted from The Old Clapham Arms public house into a men’s clothing shop in 2005.

The Allsorts community hub is set to move into the former Coes Menswear store in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick HowesThe Allsorts community hub is set to move into the former Coes Menswear store in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

After Coes shut its doors in the town in May last year after 50 years of trading, plans were approved in May this year to turn the shop into flats and two smaller units at 118-119 Bevan Street East.

Now, further change of use plans have been approved by East Suffolk Council under delegated powers, to turn 119 Bevan Street in Lowestoft “from A1 to D1 (non residential institutions)”.

The Allsorts community hub is set to move into the former Coes Menswear store in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick HowesThe Allsorts community hub is set to move into the former Coes Menswear store in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

Admitting it was “great news”, Nikki Williams – founder and managing director of Allsorts Support Services – said: “We will be moving into the old Coes building.

“We pick up the keys today (on Monday) and we are really looking forward to it.”

The Allsorts community hub is set to move into the Old Clapham Arms pub in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick HowesThe Allsorts community hub is set to move into the Old Clapham Arms pub in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

After becoming a CIC in May 2018, the service provides respite and PA support while running Allsorts community activities and entertainment for children, adults and families with learning disabilities, difficulties, autism and/or additional needs.

Nikki Williams said: “We were already running activities at various venues across Lowestoft when in October last year we created a community hub at the old Magistrates Court building.

The Allsorts community hub at the former Magistrates Court in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick HowesThe Allsorts community hub at the former Magistrates Court in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

“Now we will be able to do things on a bigger scale.

“We will be remaining in the old court building until the lease runs out and then transfer everything over to the former Coes building.

The Allsorts community hub at the former Magistrates Court in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick HowesThe Allsorts community hub at the former Magistrates Court in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

“We hope to be open and start early October in a permanent setting that has a real community feel to it.”

With around 30 families part of Allsorts Support Services CIC, Nikki Williams added: “We support people from Beccles, Woodbridge and the majority come from Lowestoft.

The Allsorts community hub at the former Magistrates Court in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick HowesThe Allsorts community hub at the former Magistrates Court in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

“There are no age restrictions as both children and adults are welcome.”

With a team of 15 people, employees and volunteers, working with “a very person-centred approach” to supporting children and adults with learning disabilities/difficulties and or additional needs, she added: “We have just been going from strength to strength and this is the next step to move into this prominent building.

The Allsorts community hub at the former Magistrates Court in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick HowesThe Allsorts community hub at the former Magistrates Court in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

“It was always a hope to be moving to a large hub facility like this.”

Among the areas planned in the new community hub are a wellbeing relaxation room, an activity room, a chillout zone, sensory room, an arts and crafts room and much more.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Beccles and Bungay Journal. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the Beccles and Bungay Journal