Big boost hoped for Great Yarmouth charity

A CHARITY which provides cheap furniture for those in need around the Great Yarmouth area is hoping a �330,000 fund boost will kick-start major improvements.

First Move Furnishaid is looking to put in a bid to the Reaching Communities Big Lottery Fund later this month to update its Nelson Drill Hall premises on Artillery Square.

And if the cash is made available, there are hopes it will lead to an expansion in the service provided, as well as make give the charity better prospects for the future.

First Move Furnishaid chairman and borough councillor Patricia Page has led grant funding successes for the group, which she estimates totals nearly �200,000 in recent years.

However, this will be the biggest yet for the charity, which offers a range of services, including offering furniture to those in need at affordable prices and IT training.

Ms Page said that the improvements would allow them to take in more furniture to be distributed.

She said: “I love the building, and this bid is really to make it better for the community.

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“With this, we would be able to help First Move Furnishaid do more and let us be more sustainable in the long run.”

Under the proposals, �45,000 would be spent on a mezzanine floor in the warehouse and �47,000 would be spent on installing new stairs and a lift for disability access.

Among other extensive works to renovate the building, there would also be repointing of the brickwork of the building – part of which was built in 1861 – and replacement of part of the slate roof.

The bid has been months in the making and follows on from a survey carried out before the charity secured its current premises for �1 under transfer of assets from Great Yarmouth Borough council in July.

Additionally, it would lead to a renovation of the current workshop and kitchen, and a disabled toilet on the first floor.

Ms Page said she had received extensive help from Simon O’ Leary of Voluntary Norfolk, but added that the money, which has to go through two rounds of approval, was by no means guaranteed.

“There’s no guarantee we’re going to get it, but we’re in a deprived area, which is required, and I think we’ve got a good chance of getting through to the second round, so fingers crossed.”

The bid follows on from news that a refurbished drop-in centre for hiring out at the Drill Hall is due to be officially opened on Tuesday.