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Norfolk church showcases £1.7m village hub plan 

Ambitious plans by All Saints Church in Poringland to build a new £1.7m community hub in the South Norfolk village are to go on show to the public next month. Keith Morris reports.

The plan is to replace the existing dilapidated 100-year-old green tin hut village hall on The Street with a multi-purpose venue called the All Saints Centre for various groups, including many church ones, to use.


All Saints’ Church are the trustees of the existing building, and have secured planning permission from South Norfolk District Council to convert the site. 


The church will need to fundraise £1.7m in order to begin the work and it has already raised £400,000 over the last couple of years.


Now an open day is planned for Saturday July 10 from 10am to 1pm in Poringland Village Hall so the public can see the plans in full


Church Rector, Rev Robert Parsonage, said: “The intention of the Open Day is to relaunch our fund-raising efforts and to make people aware of our plans. Especially people who have recently moved into the community are unaware of the plans and the church’s involvement and the history of Poringland Village Hall. The intention is to share information and rally the community around the project.


“We currently receive enquiries for new regular bookings but we are having to turn them away because there is no more booking space, since only one group at a time can meet in the hall. However, once the hall is replaced with the All Saints Centre, simultaneous and multi-purpose usage will be possible.”


During the Covid-19 pandemic the hall has been operating as a playgroup run by Time Childcare for the children of essential workers.”


Intended to complement the existing Poringland Community Centre, the new facility will continue to meet the needs of existing users, and also offer many opportunities for new users. It will consist of three parts, which can all be used independently: a large multi-use hall, a dedicated Ofsted approved facility for children’s playgroups and after-school activities and a reception area with welcome desk and coffee stop.


Like the current Village Hall, the All Saints Centre will be operated with a strong Christian ethos.


Assistant Rector, Rev Rachel Foster, explained that the church already provides a weekly parent and toddler group, a free café coffee stop and a free ‘Can’t Sing, Won’t Sing’ café morning.


“All three are community activities that have been operating for a number of years and will benefit hugely from the new facility when it is built with good access, new catering and toilet facilities, enhanced space to develop current activities and storage space for equipment,” said Rachel.


Also to come are ‘Starting Rite’ courses for parents with babies up to one year old, exploring children’s spirituality through music and interactive play.


“Enhanced storage space for operating and clean, modern environment to bring young babies to is going to make this new venture very attractive and another positive link to the community providing a service in supporting young families,” said Rachel.


“The hall is also regularly used for prayer meetings, as we pray for the community and for the users of the hall,” said Robert.


General the Lord Dannatt has given his backing to the appeal. He said: “The old building has given sterling service for the local community for decades but now it is right that the new All Saints Centre should become the renewed focus for community activities. The ambitious plans will be a tremendous boost for the people of Poringland and nearby. But ambitious plans are often expensive plans and I give my full support to all those who are working so hard to raise the money to provide this new heart to the community. I look forward to visiting the new All Saints Centre when it is completed.”


Find out more at: www.allsaintscentreporingland.org


Pictured above are artist’s drawing of what the new All Saints Centre will look like.


Read the full article here

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