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The community centre which has helped 8,000 people needs your support

PUBLISHED: 13:51 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:06 23 November 2018

Gavin Gardner, founder of Community House GY in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Joe Norton

Gavin Gardner, founder of Community House GY in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Joe Norton

Archant

A cup of tea and a chat - that is the simple motto behind the success of a community centre which has “fixed the problems” of 8,000 people in Norfolk.

Community House GY has already helped 8,000 people in Norfolk and provides physical, mental and social support to visitors. Picture: Joe NortonCommunity House GY has already helped 8,000 people in Norfolk and provides physical, mental and social support to visitors. Picture: Joe Norton

Community House GY is a community resource centre in Great Yarmouth which offers people physical, mental and physical support for free.

Lead by a team of 16 volunteers headed by founder Gavin Gardner the centre has an open door policy to anyone who needs a chat or support with their problems.

It is however under threat.

Community House GY has already helped 8,000 people in Norfolk and provides physical, mental and social support to visitors. Picture: Joe NortonCommunity House GY has already helped 8,000 people in Norfolk and provides physical, mental and social support to visitors. Picture: Joe Norton

So far the project has been entirely funded by Mr Gardner - £35,000 a year in rent and more than £50,000 in state of the art care equipment.

But, there is only so much more investment the 37-year-old can justify.

The community centre has made an appeal for people to help support them as they continue to change the lives of thousands of people who walk through its doors.

Community House GY has already helped 8,000 people in Norfolk and provides physical, mental and social support to visitors. Picture: Joe NortonCommunity House GY has already helped 8,000 people in Norfolk and provides physical, mental and social support to visitors. Picture: Joe Norton

Mr Gardner said: “All we need is money to keep the lights on in the building. A little amount really can make the world of difference.”

In order to maintain the project’s success it is hoping to raise £35,000 to pay the cost of rent at the building in Church Plain.

Mr Gardner believes the project has saved local services £1.2m based on the average cost of GP and occupational therapist appointments and prevented emergency referrals.

A former paramedic, first aider and centre manager of an independent living centre in Gorleston, he has a wealth of expertise in social welfare.

At the Norfolk Coastal Centre in Gorleston, Mr Gardner said his team increased the footfall of visitors by 600pc.

When the centre closed more than two years ago he said 6,000 people had used the service across three years.

“I could not just leave all these people who had relied on us for support without anywhere to turn.

“What we hope to do at Community House is find out what is important to the individual and make that happen. For some people just being able to make a cup of tea or listen to the radio is all they need to help them through their day.

“We try to understand some really complex issues and come up with simple solutions which suit the individual,” he said.

Community House is so well regarded that GP’s, occupational therapists and pharmacists all recommend patients to the project.

Having already helped 8,000 people across Norfolk in two years the team of volunteers are not ready to call time on their services but they need your help.

Their Crowdfunder page can be found at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/community-house-gy?utm_source=crowdfunder&utm_medium=dashboardmodel&utm_content=shareonfacebook&utm_campaign=marketing&fbclid=IwAR1ouk8Zvayyv6XGxtyyM_3TLR6qGWNNNB8bYGQE30SZLOTQaSyObqbQThw.

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