The West End Music Store in Ipswich will be the community center

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A former Ipswich music store is about to take on new life by celebrating local diversity and creativity as a community space.

That’s the vision of directors Cad Taylor, Bopper Rankin, Sarah Nkugwa and Monika Puchala, who hope to raise £ 18,998 to transform the empty West End Music store on Norwich Road into a ‘vital’ community space open to all.

La Ruche, as it is now renowned, will offer a host of activities, workshops, events, exhibitions and podcasts, as well as facilities such as a darkroom and a place to show films and videos. facilities.


West End Music in Norwich Road, Ipswich, closes
– Credit: Paul Aigle

Cad Taylor, who is also responsible for communities at BBC Radio Suffolk, said: “It’s a flexible space. It’s about the different communities that come in, contribute and bring their own ideas about what can happen here.

“It is really important that they are part of the decision making.”

Cad said Norwich Road has had a bad reputation over the years as one of the most diverse streets in Ipswich and hopes this space brings the community together.


Former West End Music has been converted into a new community space

The old West End music store in Ipswich has been converted into a new community space on Norwich Road called The Hive
– Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown


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“It’s a very diverse street naturally and there are a lot of derogatory terms that I think have a lot to do with perception,” she said.

“There have been problems in the street before and these moments then become representative of what the street looks like. In reality, these things are happening everywhere.

“Norwich Road represents a lot of diversity, a lot of different languages ​​and for some people they just don’t feel comfortable. So a social space on this street is incredibly positive. “

The money raised is vital to keep the empty store running and to ensure that it is accessible to all, for example by installing a toilet on the ground floor.


Sarah Nkuwga, Monika Puchala and Cad Taylor in front of The Hive

Sarah Nkuwga, Monika Puchala and Cad Taylor in front of The Hive
– Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

People are encouraged to join the community council and brainstorm ideas for projects that could be hosted at the hive.

Director Bopper Rankin, owner of Freedom Sounds, shared his own ideas about using space.

He said: “What I hope the beehive could be very useful for is basic computer training for a lot of people who may not know how to use computers.

“We would also like to organize music and cooking workshops, as well as community celebrations. ”

Finally, Cad emphasizes that this is more than a community center.

“We’re not just saying it’s a community space, it’s about art and culture. We want to bring people together with art, culture and projects that bring out people’s creativity, ”she said.

It is hoped that the new community space will be open between the middle and the end of October of this year.

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