Plans for old Morecambe newspaper office unveiled

How the old Visitor building might look after a refurbishment by Galloway's Society for the Blind.
How the old Visitor building might look after a refurbishment by Galloway's Society for the Blind.
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An artist’s impression of how the former Visitor building might look after refurbishment has been revealed.

Galloway’s Society for the Blind are pressing ahead with plans for an £850,000 upgrade of the former newspaper office into a centre of excellence for local blind and visually impaired people.

Stuart Clayton, chief executive of Galloway’s, said that aside from facilities for blind people, the new premises on Victoria Street will also include a social enterprise cafe at the front of the building, and meeting rooms which will be available for rent by the community.

But Mr Clayton said fund raising towards the cost of the renovations had been “going slowly” since the venture was launched in spring 2014.

“We’re living in difficult times generally and we’re seeing income streams shrinking,” said Mr Clayton.

“But we’ve been planning this for a couple of years as our current building on Balmoral Road is no longer fit for purpose.

“We already had a significant amount of money put towards it.

“We’re really excited about the project and we want to get people through the doors.”

Galloway’s bought the building from Johnston Press, owners of The Visitor, in 2013, and the newspaper moved to a new premises on White Lund in February 2014 after 135 years on the town centre site.

The charity thenannounced a target of £850,000 needed to transform the building into a purpose built centre offering activities, support and advice to people with sight loss, and drafted in top Morecambe-born designer Wayne Hemingway to help with the redesign of the premises.

Mr Clayton said the charity would hold further talks with Mr Hemingway in future.

Established in 1867, Galloway’s has been in its present home on Balmoral Road for 50 years.

It provides services to more than 7,000 people across the county including the production of talking newspapers and magazines, and provides blind awareness training.