Charities need your votes to fund exciting new facilities

The community at Emmaus Norwich in Ditchingham.

The community at Emmaus Norwich in Ditchingham. - Credit: Archant

Two local charities are in the running for a community grant of up to £10,000, and readers are being urged to help them secure the funds.

The current inflatable aquarun being used at Beccles Lido this summer.

The current inflatable aquarun being used at Beccles Lido this summer. - Credit: Archant

Beccles Lido has been shortlisted for the Aviva Community Fund to replace the pool’s giant inflatable aquarun, which has reached the end of its life. And Emmaus Norwich at Ditchingham, which supports people who find themselves homeless, is bidding for the funds to convert its garages and outbuildings into furniture workshops.

Readers have until November 18 to register online and cast their votes.

Beccles Lido, owned by community-run charity Beccles Lido Limited, has welcomed almost 250,000 visitors through its gates since reopening in 2010.

And with families travelling from all over Norfolk, Suffolk and beyond to use the outdoor swimming pool, the aquarun is one of its most popular attractions.

An artist's impression of what the new aquarun could look like.

An artist's impression of what the new aquarun could look like. - Credit: Archant

Lido director Shaun Crowley said: “So many people visit the pool, particularly in the summer holidays, to use the aquarun. It’s absolutely crucial to the success of the lido, and without it we would have a lot less visitors.

“We are asking everyone in Beccles to vote, and to vote 10 times if they can. It only takes a few minutes to log on and register.”

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The lido’s first aquarun was acquired by the community before the pool was closed by the council in 2008 and was bought with funds raised by a group of teenagers. The aquarun was replaced four years ago with funds raised by the Lido Lottery, but the number of visitors and hours of use have taken their toll. And despite repairs last year, it is in desperate need of replacement.

Mr Crowley said: “Our current aquarun cost just under £5,000 but we estimate that with a budget of between £5,000 and £10,000 we could create something truly spectacular, and even have an additional small module suitable for toddlers and our toddler pool.”

Emmaus Norwich, based at Emmaus House in Belsey Bridge Road, is hoping to secure £10,000 to create furniture workshops, which will enable its community to repair or upcycle donated items for resale in their shop.

Cathy Hembry, general manager at Emmaus, said the project would support the community in their goal of self-sufficiency and allow companions to utilise existing skills like joinery, as well as learning new skills. It would also give stock otherwise destined for the tip a new lease of life.

Mike, who has been a companion at Emmaus for two years said: “Indoor scrap processing workshops would help us really make the most of what’s been donated, and keep me dry in bad weather. It would be brilliant to see us making the most of the buildings we have and if we can shift the scrap out of the courtyard, we could open up a horticultural sales space for our green-fingered companions.

“There was a time when plenty of people would have put me on the scrapheap, but Emmaus has offered me another way of living.”

All readers need to do to vote is visit the websites below and register. Each person gets 10 votes to use.

To vote for Beccles Lido, visit

To vote for Emmaus Norwich, visit