Care Centre’s Future Is Secured

Agreement over a property deal has thrown a lifeline to community services helping the disabled and people with mental health problems in Norfolk. The future of the Merle Boddy Centre in Swaffham has now been secured after a 60-year lease at a special low rate was granted by Breckland Council to Meridian East, a Norfolk-based charity. Council spokesman Melanie Baker said: “If a new leaseholder had not been found, several of these services would have had nowhere else to go.”

The charity, specialising in work with the disabled and people suffering from psychiatric problems, has also taken on the management of the building and has plans to improve and add to services already available.

One of the long-term users of the centre, which was named after a former Swaffham mayor – the wife of another mayor and national farmworkers’ union leader, Jack Boddy – is Swaffham and District Mental Health Association.

The group has occupied the premises for more than 30 years and day centre manager Georgie Bell said: “We are really looking forward to working with Meridian East. We’re also looking forward to all the improvements that are planned to enhance the building, including new heating, decorations, better kitchen facilities and access to the building.”

Kay Fisher, Breckland Council’s executive member for community engagement, said: “The Merle Boddy Centre and the groups that operate from the building provide an invaluable service to the many vulnerable people in and around the Swaffham area. We’re pleased to be able to help the good work continue.”