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Heritage Centre needs new home to expand

PUBLISHED: 15:39 12 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:21 12 April 2019

Steve Allington, Carole Rowles, and George Ridgway are volunteers looking for a new home for Attleborough Heritage Centre. PHOTO: Sophie Smith

Steve Allington, Carole Rowles, and George Ridgway are volunteers looking for a new home for Attleborough Heritage Centre. PHOTO: Sophie Smith

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A heritage organisation dedicated to keeping a town's history alive is on the hunt for a new home.

Attleborough Heritage Centre has become a social hub for people in the town. PHOTO: Sophie SmithAttleborough Heritage Centre has become a social hub for people in the town. PHOTO: Sophie Smith

Attleborough Heritage Group has been preserving the Breckland town’s past and providing a social hub for residents for a decade from its centre at Soma House opposite Attleborough station.

But this could soon change - Soma House, a former pub, is primarily the home of one of the Centre’s founders Cliff Amos, who is now looking to downsize to somewhere more suitable.

The Group does not know how long it will take for the house to be sold, but is looking to find somewhere by August 2019.

Due to an ever-increasing number of visitors and new projects, it is also hoping find somewhere that can accommodate its expansion.

Volunteers at Attlborough Heritage Centre have produced a large amount of pamphlets on the history of the town. PHOTO: SophieSmithVolunteers at Attlborough Heritage Centre have produced a large amount of pamphlets on the history of the town. PHOTO: SophieSmith

With plans to apply for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Group is prioritising finding a premises that is accessible to everyone, including wheelchair users, ideally in the town centre. They are also looking for somewhere with a kitchen and toilet facilities.

The Group has achieved many things in the 10 years it has been at Soma House, and has grown to 150 members and an estimated 1,100 visitors per year.

Every year it publishes informative booklets, including histories of particular streets, schools, and shops.

A project in which oral and written memories of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) presence in the area during the Second World War was recorded is now part of the Imperial War Museum’s archives.

It also keeps burial records for Attleborough Town Council, provided the town character assessment for the Neighbourhood Plan, and helps to maintain the train station grounds.

What the Group is most proud of is the community that has been created by its Thursday open days. Volunteer George Ridgway said: “We are serving a purpose, often helping older people to combat loneliness by meeting to talk about Attleborough’s history and their own history.”

Apart from making it more disability-friendly, the Group is also hoping that the new centre will have room to open the disused cider museum that is currently inaccessibly located down a ladder in Soma House’s old cellar, as well as open it up to school visits.

For more information contact Mr Ridgway on 01953 455995 or info@attleboroughheritage.org.uk

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