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Ludham internet cafe success

PUBLISHED: 14:56 10 February 2009 | UPDATED: 12:59 03 July 2010

THEY are living proof of the adage where there's a will there's a way. For the guardians of community spirit in Ludham are bringing their Church Room hub into the 21st century as a modern meeting place offering facilities ranging from film screenings to computers.

THEY are living proof of the adage where there's a will there's a way. For the guardians of community spirit in Ludham are bringing their Church Room hub into the 21st century as a modern meeting place offering facilities ranging from film screenings to computers.

Despite a Big Lottery letdown, villagers have found there is funding available - albeit in smaller portions - from a range of pockets, the latest to come up with a donation being the Norfolk Community Foundation with £4000 to mend the thatch roof and £4000 from the Diocesan Mission Fund for a digital projector and other equipment.

Churchwarden Ken Grapes said the internet café had been “the most amazing success” which had astounded everyone involved.

It had been set up after a survey asking villagers what they wanted with more groups like mums and toddlers moving in soon.

Retired soldier Mr Grapes said everyone involved had taken the lottery rejection “on the jaw” and vowed to carry on with their refurbishment plans.

The former village schoolroom, built in 1910 by Edward Boardman - the celebrated Norwich architect who also built How Hill in the same Arts and Crafts style, is well-placed next to the church in the heart of the village for old folk and mums with pushchairs.

And funding to repair the thatch had come in the nick of time just as the roof was leaking faster than they could fundraise.

Enough money had also been raised through small grants and local fundraising to refurbish the kitchen and toilets.

Mr Grapes said: “It is in a conservation area and we had no option but to improve what was there. Having got somewhat shabby we applied for a major grant in order to do a proper job and bring it in to the modern day. We took the rejection on the jaw and decided we would still try and do what we wanted a bit at a time.

“The internet café has been a fantastic success. It has brought people out and about and socialising and even brought eight to 10 instructors out of the woodwork. We are immensely pleased about it.”

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