EVENTFUL TIMES AHEAD

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ONE of Wisbech’s most historic buildings could be the key to revitalising the town centre at weekends.

Wisbech Social Club and Institute has been under-used for years and it is hoped a series of events will not only give a much-needed financial boost to the building but also bring people into the deserted town centre on Sundays.

The management committee have planned an eight-week schedule of events they hope will draw shoppers into the building and in turn make people aware of the facilities.

The events will be held in the Tower Ballroom, off Scrimshires Passage, and will kick off with a Books, Vinyl and Ephemera Sale on Sunday.

Other sales planned include a table top on April 22, craft fair, gifts and jewellery on April 29 and antiques on May 6 (to be confirmed).

And there will free parking all day on Sundays at the nearby Horsefair.

Improvements have been made to the building to make it more attractive to users, such as a new central heating system and improved lighting.

The committee are looking for people who would like a stall or table at one or more of these events.

Tables will be £10, banners and electric are extra. Doors will be open from 10am until 4pm.

The Wisbech Social Club and Institute was founded by Jonathan Peckover around 1864.

It plays a key role in the history of the town as it was one of the first of a national network of Institutes which have been described as the Open Universities of their day.

The Institute was supported for over 80 years by the Peckover family and was regarded as one of the biggest and the best by the Registrar of Friendly Societies, who said the whole country owed a debt of gratitude to Jonathan Peckover.

• To book a stall or for any more information, contact Barbara Oliver (pictured) on 01945-587437 or call 01945-860478 or email info@wisbechartsfestival.org.uk

Plans to revitalise the Institute is just the latest in a long line of proposals and hopes of bringing new life to Wisbech and follows the setting up of Wisbech Town Team.

The Town Team, a totally separate group to the Wisbech Social Club and Institute, is waiting to hear whether or not it has been successful in a bid to win a share of £1 million being given under the Portas Pilots initiative to boost town centres.

The Town Team will continue to promote ideas aimed at giving Wisbech a new impetus and is looking at ways of making full use of existing buildings in the town.