Charity sets out its vision for the ahead

1 Centre 81 CEO Diana Staines, member Joseph Smith, Mark Everard, Jemma Ramsay and Emma Everard from

1 Centre 81 CEO Diana Staines, member Joseph Smith, Mark Everard, Jemma Ramsay and Emma Everard from Ovamill. - Credit: Archant

A charity is fine-tuning a major rebuild project to get maximum value from its funding appeal.

Centre 81 at Great Yarmouth this year launched a vision to replace a set of ageing secondhand buildings with a modern purpose built complex.

The Tar Works Road site is home to a skills and activities centre for 70 adults with a disability, and is the base for a community transport scheme helping hundreds more.

After an initial launch for a £5m scheme trustees are doing “value engineering” to combine the design concepts with a need to be affordable and sustainable.

Chief executive Diana Staines said it was likely to include removing a planned first floor, and lifts, which would save major capital and maintenance costs.

The new centre would still provide the space and specialist equipment for its members and the wider community.

Across the borough 19,000 people have life limiting conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson’s or had suffered major trauma, she explained.

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There are also 3,500 carers providing more than 50 hours care a week. So there were many more people Centre 81 could reach out and support.

The “back to basics” revision would see trustees working with experts including architect Hans Haenlein and representatives from Great Yarmouth College and the UEA.

Charity patron Henry Cator, who is also High Steward of Great Yarmouth, said the centre was a “beacon of hope” for everyone overcoming disability and felt the plans were realistic and sustainable.

Ms Staines revealed the move at the centre’s annual meeting, which also celebrated the year’s events and activities.

They included some personal milestones reached by members and volunteers including Lisa Borrett, who has cerebral palsy, doing two laps of the Wellesley Sports Ground in a sponsored walk when she had planned to do just one, and stroke victim Richard Jex, who designed horse brasses for a top art event in Norwich.

The annual meeting also celebrated sums raised in the community for the new build appeal. They included £10,000 generated by centre supporter Mark Everard of Ovamill. The Beccles-based construction company director raised the sum at a charity golf day at Gorleston Golf Club. Centre member Joseph Smith is a family friend.

To find out more about Centre 81, or to offer fundraising events and donations, contact 852573 or