Soham Charity Secures £200,000 Grant

PUBLISHED: 12:37 26 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:35 04 May 2010

SOHAM S high-profile charity Viva has secured its community building for the future thanks to a £200,000 grant. The organisation, which offers hundreds of young people the chance to participate in theatre, will be able to use £185,000 to buy its premises

SOHAM'S high-profile charity Viva has secured its community building for the future thanks to a £200,000 grant.

The organisation, which offers hundreds of young people the chance to participate in theatre, will be able to use £185,000 to buy its premises on Churchgate Street. The building hosts a popular charity shop, meeting rooms for other charities and businesses and a host of advice and welfare services. The remainder will be spent on renovations.

Dan Schumann, Viva trustee, said the group was delighted with the outcome.

"We can now secure the building in trust for the community for ever more," he told the Ely Standard.

"The first phase is buying the building - the sale is going through as we speak, and then phase one of renovations is to make the building energy efficient."

The former chapel has no central heating and no roof insulation, so by the end of 2009 Viva hopes to install either solar panels, and ground source heat pump and energy efficient lighting.

Mr Schumann, who has worked to secure grant funding for the past five years, said the next stage will be up to the building's users.

"We want to hear what services people want in there - there is no point having services that people won't use," he said. "The stakeholders might be the PCT, the police, the district council and Citizens Advice Bureau - we'd love to have anyone who wants to come forward and can offer charities rooms for free."

The Viva building, was previously used as an Area Resource Centre, but when it went up for sale was bought by a private individual and longstanding Viva supporter who offered up the tenancy. "If it hadn't been for that person it would have been developed into flats or become a Chinese restaurant by now," said Mr Schumann. "We are so glad we can pay back the person who put faith in us and give the community a building for the future."

The award was made to Viva by the Greater Cambridge Partnership, an alliance of the district and county councils in Cambridgeshire. They had more than £1.2million in the pot to offer to East Cambs community initiatives, as a result of hitting targets set by Government at Westminster.

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