Christmas in Gissing has been made extra special this year following a Big Lottery Fund award of more than £700,000 for an ‘ambitious building and social investment’ in the village.
The award of £711,365, secured by The Heart of Gissing CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation), will pay for a new building, to act alongside The Old School, Gissing’s much-used community centre.
There are a lot of people who come to Gissing from the surrounding villages and we are hoping that everyone is going to be pleased as much as we are, and join in and use the new facilityRose Eddington
Among the new facilities planned are a multi-purpose function room, a performance and rehearsal space and a café designed to provide a ‘welcoming social hub’.
The Old School, built in 1876, has hosted the Gissing Children’s Centre since 1982, as well as a number of other groups and activities, including crafts, gardening, reading and singing.
But Rose Eddington, chair of the Heart of Gissing, told the Diss Express with so many activities going on at the building, there was a lack of space and available slots in the timetable, hence the need for the new building.
The new facility will be also based on based on ‘flexible use of space’ and ‘energy saving principles’.
“We are absolutely delighted,” she said. “It is an amazing boost.
“It is not just for Gissing, although it is fabulous for our village. There are a lot of people who come to Gissing from the surrounding villages and we are hoping that everyone is going to be pleased as much as we are, and join in and use the new facility.
“That’s what we are hoping for — it is for everybody.
“It is going to be a more functional building.
“It is not massive, it is going to be intimate and especially good for parties and all kinds of functions, as well as community-type interest groups.
“We have worked for a long time on this particular project.
“It has taken two years to achieve the funding from putting in the first application in.”
A condition of the grant award is building work must start before June next year, while it is hoped the new facility will be completed by March 2017.
There are currently 60 volunteers involved on a regular basis at The Old School.
For more information on the Heart of Gissing CIO, visit their website at www.heartofgissing.org.uk