Fram hits £1m community centre target

WORK on a market town's new community centre may start next month after the “incredible” success of a fund-raising campaign which has already raised nearly £1 million.

By David Green

WORK on a market town's new community centre may start next month after the “incredible” success of a fund-raising campaign which has already raised nearly £1 million.

Plans for a new centre at Framlingham were first discussed 11 years ago but fund-raising for the current project began in 2000.

Now tenders have gone out for the construction and work may start towards the end of next month.


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It will involve the demolition of the existing St Michaels Rooms, built in the 1890s and considered to be incapable of meeting modern needs.

The new building, being commissioned by the Framlingham Community Centre Trust, will have two halls, one of them seating 200 people and the other 80, together with offices, kitchens and toilets.

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Beryl Whitehead, a trustee and town councillor, said the fund-raising campaign had been an “incredible success” with grants being obtained from a range of sources, including the National Lottery, the East of England Development Agency and the county, district and town councils.

A special appeal last year to fill a shortfall of £100,000 has resulted in the money being pledged from grant-giving organisations within two weeks.

Only recently a £20,000 grant had been awarded by the Corporate Regeneration Fund to cover design fees.

Mrs Whitehead said an “amazing” £97,000 had already been raised locally - partly by a shop, which had contributed £13,000 in the past year, and partly by various fund-raising events.

About £53,000 has still to be raised by the town's own efforts. Although trustees are confident the target will be achieved they have arranged an overdraft facility with a bank as a contingency measure.

Forthcoming events include a bingo evening, a coffee morning, a handbell concert and a celebrity dinner.

Mrs Whitehead said: “It has been an incredible success. Framlingham is a growing town and it needs modern facilities of the kind which are going to be built.”

One of the next jobs is the controlled removal by specialist contractors of asbestos found in a storeroom in the present building.

Six contractors have been invited to tender for the construction of the new community centre which should be completed early in 2008.

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