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Community scores £206,000 grant to redevelop old hospital site in Southwold

PUBLISHED: 13:51 31 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:51 31 October 2018

Southwold Community group SouthGen celebrate the exchange of contracts for the acquisition of the old Southwold Hospital.

Southwold Community group SouthGen celebrate the exchange of contracts for the acquisition of the old Southwold Hospital.

Archant © 2018

A group of campaigners who bought back the old Southwold and District Hospital have been handed a £206,000 grant to redevelop the site.

Southwold Hospital  PHOTO: Nick ButcherSouthwold Hospital PHOTO: Nick Butcher

A group of campaigners who bought back the old Southwold and District Hospital have been handed a £206,000 grant to redevelop the site.

The latest grant is a significant help towards the £850,000 budget needed to fully regenerate the old hospital.

Power to Change - a charity sponsored by Big Lottery - awarded the Community Business Fund grant to redevelop the hospital site.

Community members who had been working passionately towards the restoration of the site have raised 40pc of the expected cost since May this year.

The Southwold and Waveney Valley Regeneration Society (SouthGen) celebrate the palnning approval to turn the former Southwold Hospital site into a community, residential and business hub.
Picture: Nick ButcherThe Southwold and Waveney Valley Regeneration Society (SouthGen) celebrate the palnning approval to turn the former Southwold Hospital site into a community, residential and business hub. Picture: Nick Butcher

SouthGen (Southwold and Waveney Valley Regeneration Society Ltd) has been leading the charge behind a campaign that would see the old Southwold and District Hospital move into the hands of local people.

In December 2017, their proposed plans to transform the hospital into a community hub was approved by Waveney District Council.

Since the plans were announced late last year, SouthGen have bought back the building from the NHS.

At the time, Save Our Southwold (SOS) which was propelled by its community benefit arm SouthGen, was handed the keys to the old Hospital after nearly two years of planning and fundraising.

Southwold Community group SouthGen celebrate the exchange of contracts for the acquisition of the old Southwold Hospital.Southwold Community group SouthGen celebrate the exchange of contracts for the acquisition of the old Southwold Hospital.

Earlier this year. SOS chairman Laurence Vulliamy said: “A lot of people thought we’d never do it, so we’re delighted to get this over the line.”

The plans for the Old Hospital include a modern library and a nursery for up to 17 children.

The nursery is expected to have after school programmes to take the pressure off local parents and benefit children in the community.

The space also plans to have a start-up business space with desk space and conference room as well as a cafe boasting local produce.

Kate Stewart, director of programmes at Power to Change said: “We were incredibly impressed with the application. The Brighter Futures team have worked so hard to get this far and we are delighted this grant will support three community businesses as well as helping to preserve the Southwold Hospital building.”

SouthGen as their partners for the community-led redevelopment, Hastoe Housing’s purchase from NHS Property Services was completed for £935,000.

All proceeds from the sale were reinvested in the NHS.

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