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More than £200,000 raised for Norfolk church to be transformed into social enterprise cafe

PUBLISHED: 11:05 25 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:44 25 February 2019

Members of the St Cuthbert's congregation celebrate work getting underway. Picture: Diocese of Norwich

Members of the St Cuthbert's congregation celebrate work getting underway. Picture: Diocese of Norwich

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One of Norfolk's most beautiful town-centre churches will see more than £200,000 spent on adapting its interior to create a new social enterprise cafe.

St Cuthbert's church in Thetford has received a £20,000 grant. Picture: The National Churches TrustSt Cuthbert's church in Thetford has received a £20,000 grant. Picture: The National Churches Trust

St Cuthbert’s on King Street in Thetford will be transformed over the coming months with work to install a fully equipped catering kitchen alongside improving access for disabled people and redesigning the toilets already underway.

The funding for the project has come from the congregation’s own fundraising efforts alongside donations from The Rank Foundation, National Churches Trust, Thetford Town Council, and others.

The new social enterprise cafe that will be set up following the work could provide jobs, training and work experience for people in Thetford.

Reverend Dr Peter Herbert, who is the rector of St Cuthbert’s, said the changes are necessary to better meet the community’s needs.

He said: “Changes in society mean that our buildings need to adapt to better serve their community’s needs. Our challenge at St Cuthbert’s is to redevelop the building to keep it a hub of Christian and community life in Thetford.”

The cafe will also work with disadvantaged groups such as those recovering from drug addiction and unemployed people, hoping to provide experience of working in the food sector business.

Peter Thomson, church council secretary, said: “Within our Church family we have people with extensive experience in finance, catering management and of working with disadvantaged groups.

“Our staff will be able to provide specialist training in food preparation, food hygiene and health and safety, covering all aspects of how to operate in a fast-moving catering environment.

“The hope is that this new café will generate a minimum of two and a half full time equivalent jobs and we consider that the potential scale of the project over five years could generate up to four and a half full time equivalent jobs.”

The cafe will be open to the public during the week and will be available to be booked by groups.

The work could also allow further changes to the interior of the church with the potential of replacing the pews with flexible seating.

Building work has already begun and should be completed in September this year.

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