Ceremony celebrates official opening of Sudbury community hub building

Lesley Ford-Platt, trustee, with Andrea Pittock, head of grant programmes at the Suffolk Community Foundation. 

Lesley Ford-Platt, trustee, with Andrea Pittock, head of grant programmes at the Suffolk Community Foundation. - Credit: Archant

A Sudbury charity has celebrated the official opening of its new community hub building with a special ceremony. 

After an extensive fundraising effort, the Hive charity completed the purchase of the former Christ Church United Reformed Church in School Street, Sudbury, this year

The Grade II-listed church closed in 2018 due to dwindling congregations and went onto the market for £650,000. 

The charity then agreed a deal to buy the historic building to transform it into The Hive Community Hub - which can be used to serve the needs of organisations and groups in and around the town. 

The former United Reformed Church in Sudbury which is now The Hive Community Hub

The former United Reformed Church in Sudbury which is now The Hive Community Hub - Credit: Archant

Fundraisers and donors were invited to attend the hub on Saturday, following some initial repairs and cleaning, for the formal opening of the building. 

Around 70 people heard speeches, live music and saw the unveiling of a plaque in memory of local benefactor Joy Abbott. 

Mrs Abbott, who died in 2013, left a legacy, managed by the Suffolk Community Foundation, to benefit local groups over a number of years. 

The plaque in memory of Joy Abbott 

The plaque in memory of Joy Abbott - Credit: Archant

The trustees decided on this project and Hive has named the United Reformed Church as the 'Joy Abbott Hall' in recognition of her significant funding gift. 

Lesley Ford-Platt, Hive trustee, said: "The morning with all the donors was amazing, we had about 70 people here.

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"We're incredibly grateful to them all for their support because we were on a short time-scale by the time the Synod had agreed to sell it to us.

"It was a lovely atmosphere, and we had some lovely speeches from the chair of Hive trustees Shirley [Moore] and treasurer Gareth [Cole]."

Mrs Ford-Platt added that the hall is still looking to raise around £400,000 for continuing improvement work in the future. 

Guests were able to see inside the Joy Abbott Hall at the weekend

Guests were able to see inside the Joy Abbott Hall at the weekend - Credit: Archant

Andrea Pittock, from Suffolk Community Foundation, who unveiled the Joy Abbott Hall plaque, said: "She was a very private woman but the trustees decided that it would be really special that she would be recognised and named because of the legacy." 

Already groups are booking to use the community hub but some days and evenings are still available. Enquiries about availability should be made to Gareth Cole on 07771 893702.

The first event in the Joy Abbott Hall will be  Sudbury Choral Society’s Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 12 at 6.30pm.

Tickets at £12 each are available from the tourist information ffice at the town hall or Juniper Flowers in North Street.

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