Yarmouth community centre to receive £250,000 cash boost

Launch of Centre 81's new £5M community appeal for a new building on the site of their current premi

Diana Staines, Chief Executive Officer at Centre 81, was overjoyed after hearing the news that her organisation would be awarded £250,000. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

A Great Yarmouth community organisation is set to receive a grant worth £250,000.

The cash boost will allow Centre 81, which works with adults with a range of disabilities, to convert its premises into a skills and activities centre for service users and other groups in the community.

Diana Staines, chief executive officer at Centre 81, was in disbelief following news of the award.

She said: “My initial reaction was a mixture of surprise, disbelief, and tears.

“The grant is another major stepping stone in our ambition to provide our members with the space, accommodation, and specialist equipment to cater to their needs."

Centre 81 helps disabled people get more out of life, and where ability not disability is key

Centre 81 helps disabled people get more out of life, and where ability not disability is key. - Credit: Julian Claxton Photography

The grant is part of the Norfolk Social Infrastructure Fund which has seen Norfolk County Council hand out more than £1m to 25 different organisations, with grants ranging from £3,400 to £250,000.

Ms Staines added that the large sum would send a clear message to the centre's supports.

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"Opening the doors of our new premises will coincide with celebrating 40 years of service provision and securing the long-term future of Centre 81.”

The Norfolk Social Infrastructure Fund was established to provide £1m to community groups and voluntary organisations for new initiatives or improvements to existing facilities.

This year the grant was widened to make more money available to smaller projects, with 25pc or £250,000 offered for grants of between £5,000 and £50,000.

Applicants were able to apply for capital grants that support the council’s plan ‘Together, for Norfolk’ and which help the county recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “Our county’s voluntary and community groups are an essential part of Norfolk’s infrastructure and that has been demonstrated by the excellent work they have done and continue to do in the pandemic.

"The funding through the Social Infrastructure Fund will support some of Norfolk's most vulnerable people and communities and enable them to safely come together again to enjoy a range of activities in improved facilities.”