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Help us save public hall

Picture of Gary Hines, manager of Beccles Public Hall which has just been refurbished.; Photo: Angela Sharpe; Copy: Dan Haynes; For: BBJ; Archant pics © 2009; (01603) 772434

Picture of Gary Hines, manager of Beccles Public Hall which has just been refurbished.; Photo: Angela Sharpe; Copy: Dan Haynes; For: BBJ; Archant pics © 2009; (01603) 772434

Archant © 2009

VOLUNTEERS are being urged to come forward to help run Beccles Public Hall and to raise the £15,000 needed to secure the building's future.

At a public meeting on Tuesday, more than 60 people discussed the future of the hall in Smallgate, which included plans to see it run by volunteers.

Terry Dentith, who has been involved in a number of events and productions at the public hall, said: “We are looking for a management board and people to join a Friends of the Public Hall group so that volunteers can help support and take on roles. There is a £14,000 loss a year and we have to turn that around.”

Fundraising has started and £1,000 has been pledged, but £15,000 is needed to carry out surveys and set up the governance structure to run the hall.

Karen Wareham has taken on the role of events manager and has planned a variety show and a remembrance event to help raise funds.

“£15,000 will get us open and running,” Mr Dentith added.

Beccles Lido Limited is in advanced negotiations with Waveney District Council to take on the public hall.

Shaun Crowley, director of Beccles Lido Limited, said: “We believe that Beccles needs and wants a more modern public hall with a broader range of shows, exhibitions and events, combined with greater access for use by the general public.”

Waveney District Council’s deputy leader Stephen Ardley said: “Ideally we are looking at a plan that will see Beccles Public Hall handed over at the end of this year or by March 2012, subject to satisfactory negotiations.

“We are working closely with Beccles Lido Limited to provide them with all of the information needed to put together a business case and we expect that we will be taking the report to be reviewed by the scrutiny committee in October or November this year.”

The group will now start to approach organisations for funding. It is also putting in an energy share bid through the lido for roof solar panels.

District councillor Graham Elliott, said: “I made saving the public hall a central part of my election campaign and I am delighted to have helped Beccles Lido Limited put together a team that can take on this valuable public asset.”

To help or make a donation contact Mr Dentith at terry@becclespublichall.com, or call 01502 716590.

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