The Eastgate Centre

The North Elmham Youth and Community Trust Ltd

Company number - 3504794 Charity number - 1077830

FACILITIES

The Eastgate Centre is available for hire by individuals and community groups.  It  provides an ideal venue for meetings, entertainment and celebrations. It consists of a large meeting room which can be sub-divided.  Tables and chairs are available and the building is centrally heated.  In addition to a small kitchen there are toilet facilities, including for the disabled. The close proximity of the Village Green and the car park are ideal for outdoor activities. 

BOOKINGS

The cost of hiring the Centre is:

£15 per evening, or £5 per hour.  It is not available for overnight stays. 

For further information and booking please contact Heather on 01362 668245

The Eastgate Centre

Interior of Eastgate Centre - click to enlarge

HISTORY

In 1876 a Methodist chapel was built in Eastgate Street and was used as a place for worship until 1997 when the Methodist Church ceased to meet there.  The Parish Council looked into the possibility of leasing it to use as a hall, but the Methodist Church policy was to sell redundant buildings.

At this time the Scouting and Guiding groups met in various places: the village school, the Institute, and a hall in a neighbouring village.  None of these were ideal; activities were limited, most were expensive and all equipment had to be taken home after each meeting, so the groups were keen to find more suitable premises.

The decision was made to apply for lottery funding to buy and refurbish the current premises as a centre for community use, with its first purpose being a meeting place for the uniformed groups.  This was achieved, with considerable funds being raised by the groups to underpin the application.  The building was named The Eastgate Centre and opened for use in January 2000.  It was used as a meeting place for Cubs, Beavers and Guides for many years.  In recent times the popularity of such groups combined with the difficulty getting trained and qualified volunteers increased and, by 2022, only The Guides continue to meet there 

In 2011 a grant from The Big Lottery Fund allowed the roof to be insulated and the ceiling lowered.  This has resulted in lower heating costs and better conditions for the users, particularly during the winter months.  

MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE

In 1998 a trust was set up – The North Elmham Youth and Community Development Trust Ltd.  This is a charity and also a company limited by guarantee.  The management of the centre is undertaken by a committee of Trustees (who are also registered as Directors of the company), half of whom are appointed by the Parish Council, and half by the Scouting and Guiding groups.  Trustees are appointed for a period of 4 years, after which they may retire or be reappointed.  All are volunteers. 

The current trustees are:

For Scouting and Guiding:   Heather Caley (Treasurer), Marion Morgan (Secretary), Peter Braybrook

For Parish Council:    Martin Phillips, Paul Grainger, Tom Fitzalan Howard (Chair)

COMMUNITY USE

The main users from within the local community are the Guides with a current membership of 12. But numbers frequently change.  The Centre provides them with an ideal meeting place, with storage and a kitchen.  The close proximity of the Village Green and the car park are ideal for outdoor activities.  The container at the back of the Centre provides storage for camping equipment.  Each week this group meets at the Eastgate Centre for enjoyable and challenging activities.  In the past Scouts, Brownies Cubs & Beavers were also represented, but all have now closed due to lack of support from Norfolk Scouting Organisation and lack of new leaders.  It is hoped that this may be rectified in the foreseeable future. 

The Centre is also available for other users both from within North Elmham and further afield.  These have included community groups and private individuals.  The Victory Village Church met here for about 3 years and, over the past few years, there has been other occasional use by groups for keep fit, cooking classes and private parties.  The May Singers meet here regularly in the past, as did The Before & After School Club.  The Centre was also available to the whole village during The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations and will be for the upcoming Platinum Jubilee.

Interior of Eastgate Centre - click to enlarge   Interior of Eastgate Centre - click to enlarge Eastgate Centre kitchen - click to enlarge

FINANCES

Throughout its life the Centre has maintained financial viability, with income from lettings, fundraising, and the support of annual donations from the Parish Council and Elmham Townlands Trust.  There has also been success in obtaining other grants to pay for updates and repairs such as the new oil tank, the boundary wall and the roof – and most recently the new insulated ceiling.  In 2016 a shelter was built to the rear of the Centre to provide the Scouting and Guiding groups with a covered area.  It is policy to keep a reserve of at least £2000 for unforeseen expenditure.

SUMMARY

The Eastgate Centre is a real asset to the village of North Elmham and for the local community, and in particular to the  children who use it on an almost weekly basis.  The cost to the community is very modest in relation to the real benefit that it brings to all those who use it. 

ACCOUNTS Year ending 2021

CHAIRMAN'S REPORT Year ending 2021