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Land Acquisition Boost for Centre 81

Posted on March 23, 2015

Centre 81’s plan to expand its services for disabled people in new state-of-the-art facilities has taken a major step forward.

The Great Yarmouth charity is buying land and an unoccupied bungalow next to its base in Tar Works Road that will almost double the size of its site. The purchase has been made possible thanks to a £135,000 grant from Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

The site, which adjoins Centre 81’s garden, is part of the grounds of the vacant residential care home, Mildred Stone House. Its acquisition from NPS Group will enable Centre 81 to build the first phase of a new £1.5million complex that will provide a cutting-edge skills and activities centre for people with a range of disabilities and a new base for its popular community transport service.

Diana Staines, Centre 81’s chief executive, said, “This is very exciting news and I cannot thank Great Yarmouth Borough Council enough for its support. The additional site will enable us to develop a smart new building and begin the expansion of Centre 81 without having to cease operations for a single day, which was our number one priority.

“Fundraising is already under way for the first phase of the new building, which will take place on the land we’re acquiring. Once this is complete we will look at building on the rest of our current site, possibly in two further phases.”

Trevor Wainwright, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said, “Centre 81 is a tremendous asset to the borough and we were pleased to be able to provide this grant to help them acquire the land. The expansion and improvement of Centre 81’s facilities will bring benefits to more disabled people and their carers, and will help Great Yarmouth to become an even more inclusive community.”

Karl Jermyn, chairman of Centre 81’s trustees, said the purchase of the land was a great boost for the organisation.

“We’ve been working for two years to try and find ways of expanding Centre 81 so we can provide better facilities and help more people to lead fulfilling lives. When we were given the chance to acquire this neighbouring site we didn’t think twice about it. It was the breakthrough we were looking for, and the council’s support has been invaluable,” he said.

“Our current facilities have seen better days and, despite the increasing need in the borough, we can’t accommodate more members or the large, modern equipment required to further improve the quality of life for disabled people in our community. Centre 81 never stands still and this latest development represents the beginning of another exciting phase for us.”

Centre 81’s skills and activities centre has a membership of about 70 disabled people. Due to the age and layout of its current buildings the charity is working to capacity. It has a waiting list for new members and has no room for additional or up-to-date replacement facilities.

The charity also operates a community transport service. Its fleet of ten fully-accessible minibuses are a familiar sight in the borough, serving more than 700 members who can’t access traditional public transport. These include people with a disability, elderly people and those who are unable to use public transport.

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