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Furniture store set to be charity hub thanks to £250,000 donation

PUBLISHED: 16:47 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:12 15 January 2020

Centre 81 is celebrating a £250,000 windfall that will enable it to grow and move into new premises on the site of Better Furniture in Southtown Road Picture: LEP

Centre 81 is celebrating a £250,000 windfall that will enable it to grow and move into new premises on the site of Better Furniture in Southtown Road Picture: LEP

Archant

A charity is celebrating "a new lease of life" after being handed a £250,000 donation.

Better Furniture in Southtown Road could be the new home of Centre 81, in Great Yarmouth Picture: Google MapsBetter Furniture in Southtown Road could be the new home of Centre 81, in Great Yarmouth Picture: Google Maps

It means Centre 81 in Great Yarmouth can now go ahead with a move to new premises thanks to the grant from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The award via the LEP's Growing Places Fund is towards the total project cost of £1.5m.

It is expected the project will create 15 full-time-equivalent jobs and safeguard 45 existing jobs and 20 voluntary positions, as well as supporting apprenticeships and training/research placements.

Diana Staines, chief executive of Centre 81, said the funding would mean "a new lease of life and a really positive future" for the charity, which cannot operate from its existing base in Tar Works Road for much longer.

"This grant has been absolutely crucial in helping us to achieve our ambition of acquiring a new home," she said.

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"It's not simply the financial contribution towards our £1.5m project, but also the encouragement and confidence it gives other funders.

"It will go towards the purchase and conversion of a large building in Great Yarmouth.

"This will give us the space we need to provide our members with the modern facilities they deserve, support even more disabled people and their family carers, and secure the future of our charity by enabling us to increase our income."

Centre 81 operates a skills and activities centre for more than 80 adults with a range of disabilities.

It also has a fleet of 11 minibuses that provide a door-to-door community transport service for more than 800 people in the borough.

The charity is planning to sell its site and buy the Better Furniture store in Southtown Road, which is still trading.

Iain Dunnett, senior Growing Places Fund coordinator, said: "Through moving to new premises, Centre 81 will be able to help raise the skills of its members and improve the employability of people whose potential is often overlooked.

"This will have a significant local socio-economic impact, particularly for this client group in Great Yarmouth and its surrounding area."

If anyone would like to contribute to the project, they should contact Diana Staines at diana.staines@centre81.com or 01493 852573.

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