Long-awaited community hub receives £70,000 funding boost
- Credit: Archant
A project to build a much-needed community hub on the site of a former school has taken a huge step forward after receiving a £70,000 grant.
The Worlingham Community Facility has been awarded the funding from Waveney District Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy.
Worlingham is believed to be the largest village in Suffolk without a community centre, pub or meeting room following the closure of the church hall in 2008.
The hub will be built on the former site of Worlingham Primary School in Rectory Lane which has been vacant since 2013 when the school was shut.
Wendy Summerfield, head of the parish council and facility trust, said: “It’s very nice that Waveney District Council clearly has faith in us that we will deliver this project. It’s important for the community to have a heart – there is no central meeting place in the village.
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“Lots of people just think of Worlingham as an extension of Beccles but we have our own identity. We need a centre – we need our own identity.”
Mrs Summerfield praised the hard work of trust treasurer Paul Gurbutt, who was “instrumental” in putting the levy application together.
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Norman Brooks, who represents the Worlingham Ward for Waveney, explained how the £70,000 will be used to carry out all the site work and project management.
He said: “It is a fantastic boost because we have the funds to make sure we deliver the project we want to deliver – a sustainable building that will last a long time with low running costs.
“It will be a quality building that will help the village for years to come.”
When plans for the facility were first put forward residents were asked to submit suggestions for how they would like to see the space used.
Mr Brooks added: “We took advice from what the people of the village wanted.
“Whatever the people want, the facility will cope with - it’s designed to be flexible.”
The community centre will be built alongside 15 new homes in Rectory Lane.
And while the village is currently awaiting the transfer of the site from Suffolk County Council, Mr Brooks said it would be completed “very soon”. He hoped it would be open within 18 months.