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‘Hospital, soup kitchen or toilet roll factory’ - Boss of community centre offers site for vital services

PUBLISHED: 16:11 25 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:11 25 March 2020

Danny Whitehouse is the Charles Burrell Centre's new chief executive and is in talks with Breckland Council to see how the site can be of service during the pandemic. Photo: Ian Burt

Danny Whitehouse is the Charles Burrell Centre's new chief executive and is in talks with Breckland Council to see how the site can be of service during the pandemic. Photo: Ian Burt

Ian Burt

A town’s community centre has been forced to close due to coronavirus but bosses hope to repurpose the site to offer vital services.

An aerial shot of the The Charles Burrell Centre. Photo: courtesy of Terry JermyAn aerial shot of the The Charles Burrell Centre. Photo: courtesy of Terry Jermy

The Charles Burrell Centre (CBC) in Thetford is home to more than 50 businesses and organisations and has been a “vital” support hub for the community during the coronavirus outbreak.

But now the centre has had to officially close its doors following government advice.

Danny Whitehouse is the CBC’s new chief executive and said the team is in talks with Breckland Council to see how the centre can be of service during the pandemic.

He said: “The centre is closed until further notice for all but the most essential services. We will always put health and people first. We want to be on the frontline supporting those in need.

Danny Whitehouse is the Charles Burrell Centre's new chief executive and is in talks with Breckland Council to see how the site can be of service during the pandemic. Photo: Danny WhitehouseDanny Whitehouse is the Charles Burrell Centre's new chief executive and is in talks with Breckland Council to see how the site can be of service during the pandemic. Photo: Danny Whitehouse

“CBC is agile and willing to adapt. We could become a makeshift creche, a hospital, a soup kitchen or a toilet roll factory. Whatever is needed, we’re willing to help.

“In the meantime, we are supporting our community via phone and social media, with up to date information and guidance, signposting people where they can get or give help.”

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The Charles Burrell Centre in Thetford. Picture: Ian BurtThe Charles Burrell Centre in Thetford. Picture: Ian Burt

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Thetford’s food bank, which is also located at the centre, will still be in operation.

And Mr Whitehouse is urging anyone who may be vulnerable or in need of help to contact the centre, as staff are “on-call ready to respond”.

He added: “Community nurses still have some limited access to their store rooms and office but the only service that remains open for the public is the foodbank, which people can access using a voucher referral system.

“They are requesting donations of money rather than supplies at present.

“At this important time, it is crucial that we rally round as a community and support one another, playing close attention to all official guidance and instructions. CBC is a point of contact for anybody wishing to request or offer support.

“Please call us if you need anything at all. We will try to match you up with a local volunteer who can help. If we cannot answer please leave a message and contact number with your name and we will get back to you as soon as we can.”

To contact the Charles Burrell Centre call, 01842 779867 or follow their Facebook page for updates, facebook.com/CharlesBurrellCentre/



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