‘Bitter disappointment’ as £800k cash bid for new Saxmundham community centre is rejected

Organisers of a project to build a new community centre for Saxmundham have suffered a major setback after their bid for an £800,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund was rejected.

The Saxmundham & District Community Interest Company (SADCIC) said while the rejection was “devastating news”, it was determined to find a way forward and would not give up.

SADCIC chairman Don Tricker said: “After a long and sustained 10-year struggle by our group of dedicated local volunteers, we are bitterly disappointed with the lottery setback for Saxmundham.

“However, having come this far we‘re not about to give up but are resigned to the fact that the time horizon has probably just slipped yet another two years further back.

“As the Saxmundham Town Council is about to start work on a Neighbourhood Plan we will get behind that and see if it leads to new possibilities over the next two years. And we will be re-contacting the Big Lottery to better understand their future outlook and possibly resubmit a funding bid in 2018.”

Suffolk County Council is working closely with SADCIC to deliver the vision of a purpose-built community centre for Saxmundham and has already committed some replacement land, at a peppercorn rent, as well as additional matched funding.

Saxmundham has grown rapidly in the last 20 years and is still growing steadily but has never had a proper community centre. The aim is to replace the Fromus Centre, a thriving and sustainable community hub catering for a range of uses and for all ages and backgrounds, but which is no longer fit for purpose.

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The new centre would provide an extended range of leisure, social, training, and wellbeing activities for all ages, building on the activities already taking place and catering for those living in the hundreds of new homes being built in the market town.

Mr Tricker said: “Public exhibitions and two major surveys of local residents showed great dissatisfaction with the current poor state of amenities and registered the strong desire for a community hub to bring people together.”

Anyone who would like to get involved with the new Fromus Centre, help run the current centre or explore setting up a new activity, should email don@saxcommunity.co.uk or call 01728 604944.

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