Filby community centre dream a step closer

THE dream of a ��m community centre to provide a much-needed place for Filby people to enjoy their leisure time has come a step closer towards being realised.

Since 2004, there have been efforts to establish a new place for young and old to get together in the village, but previous efforts have been thwarted after a failed Big Lottery Fund bid.

However, hopes are high that the plan for the playing field-based facility, which would include a stage, sports changing facilities and storage facilities, will succeed.

Organisers involved with the project emerged from a meeting with Norfolk Rural Community Council on Wednesday about applying for another Big Lottery Fund grant pleased with progress.

Peter Chapman, grant co-ordinator for Filby Playing Field Committee, which is responsible for driving the plans forward, said: “It’s a community centre that would be there for everyone in the community to use, whether it was sports, bingo or the Women’s Institute.

“The meeting was encouraging, and even though it is a long process I’m positive that it could come together, especially if you look at local halls like Fleggburgh which have succeeded in getting the lottery funding where previously we have not.”

A bid for a village hall was rejected by the National Lottery in 2006, but continual fundraising efforts through village fairs, local bingo and other grants have raised �80,000.

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Current ideas have been generated from a village survey of residents’ needs carried out by the Playing Field Committee in 2009.

And with a business plan for the 380m sq centre virtually complete, and planning permission already obtained, it is hoped the grant will provide the rest of the funds.

Derek Nicker put together the business plan for the timber and brick clad community centre which would stand behind the current club room and replace the existing tea room on the field.

Describing progress as “exciting”, he said: “There’s a lot of activity that goes on in the village at the moment with the absence of a meeting place.”

It is hoped the plan will be sent off to the Big Lottery Fund within the next few weeks.

However, news of whether the bid is successful may take between nine and 17 months.