Student Accommodation

Local Spotlight: The Rage Rooms

Photo Credit: Catherine Starkey

Every month we will be shining the light on a local independent business along St. Benedict’s street. Last month we spoke to Paul Mills from Soundclash records about his business, the importance of music and Norwich. This month, we sat down with Nigel Spurling from the Rage Rooms to chat about all things smashable, how the idea came about and how Norwich has embraced a new way of de-stressing.

Photo Credit: Catherine Starkey

CS: Thank you for sitting and chatting to us. So tell us, what are The Rage Rooms all about?

Nigel: It’s just about smashing stuff up really. It’s a unique and a different way to have some fun while letting off some steam. We thought why not!

CS: It’s defiantly a unique way to have fun and let off some steam, what type of people would you normally find in here?

Nigel: We have a broad range of customers, ranging from 18 to 55 from all different backgrounds and jobs. We also get a lot of stag & hen do’s, work do’s and returning customers, especially on Friday evenings from around 4pm onwards. I think it’s to let off steam from the week, ready to be chilled on the weekend.

CS: That’s amazing to have that broad of a customer base. How did you come up with this idea and turn it into a business venture?

Nigel: I run a scaffolding business, but once I give the run down to my employee’s, I’m pretty much free for the rest of the day. I saw on YouTube about a year and a half ago a video on a rage room, thought it was a cool concept. So I googled and the closest one was in Birmingham, so I figured why not open one in Norwich. The next step was finding a place, we were close to getting an old office block near the local airport, but unfortunately that did not happen. We figured closer to the city maybe better and luck had it we had a connection with next door who is a great landlady and ended up hear on Benedict’s View. Which has actually worked quite well now that next year we will have the student accommodation across from us. We have two rooms, upstairs we have the option of using paintballs as well as smashing everything up. We allow 10mins each, there is also cctv footage in the coffee room where your friends/work colleagues can watch you. It’s quite fun just to watch them.

Photo Credit: Catherine Starkey

CS: Wow, that’s pretty lucky, it seems like everything has fallen into place.

Nigel: Yep, it seems like out of the blue everything has fallen into place, the council approved it, we’ve had a great response from the local community, and it’s been great.

CS: Norwich is great like that, and being a student town as well, do you have a memorable sessions since you’ve been open?

Nigel: Wow, what a question, there have been so many. But one of the first would have to be in the top. It was our second customer, three guys came in. And when it was this guy’s turn, he was just in the room, walking around swinging the bat, very calmly, then all of a sudden he just went absolutely mental. Another memorable one was when someone came in with musical instruments, he ended up smashing an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar and organs. People tend to bring their own stuff to smash, which is quite interesting to watch.

CS: OMG that must have been interesting to watch! Hopefully they felt good afterwards. I feel sorry for those guitars though! What’s the response been like from the local community, from what you have already said, I am assuming its positive?

Nigel: Yes it’s been very positive! For something that was meant to fill in the time during the day, it has turned into quite a great little business venture. Especially considering we are the only one in the East Anglia region, the last 6 months have been great. We even have a local called Nathan from TGFL who works on Saturdays. We’ve also been featured on BBC news and ITV news, it was a bit uncomfortable for me but in an amazing good way.

Photo Credit: Catherine Starkey

CS: That must be very exciting for you! And especially something that is a bit from the norm, and what started as a hobby you must be very pleased with how everything is turning out. My colleague mentioned work with some mental health charities, How has that been, or is everything still in the works?

Nigel: Yes, it has been a bit of a whirl wind the past few months, it’s been amazing to see the positive reviews. That’s all still in the works. I’ve had introduction meetings with the YMCA and Women of Mind. Spoken to councillor called Danny Greens who specialises with people who struggle with anxiety, we’ve agreed to have his sign outside and he will advertise for us. And we also have an advert in a local hospital magazine. That’s about it so far, but you never know what the future holds.

CS: Well you got to start somewhere with these things, especially with mental health being such a prominent issue in today’s society. It seems in Norwich a real sense of community and support, is this one of the reasons you decided to open in Norwich?

Nigel: I’m Norwich born and bred. And I love it here. You are right in saying that Norwich really does have a great community and support, it was also the right place and right fit. Everything just lined up perfectly when we opened. It also helps with the two universities, markets and the abundance of independent shops that are stronger than ever. It’s also worked out with the local businesses as everything that we smash has either been donated or our customers have brought themselves. We then recycle them using a certified company, it’s a great cycle we have, and it saves us money as well. We are thinking and hoping to expand in the future, but like when we opened 6/7 months ago, it will need to be the right fit and right place. Right now we love where we are and how everything is going. And our customers are amazing as well!

CS: This is my second time here and even I can tell what you’ve said is true. Norwich defiantly has a great community, support and openness about it. And it’s also great to know that everything is that does get smashed is donated and can also be recycled properly, especially with computers. Hopefully everything goes well this place, and you’ll be expanding in no time. One last question before I let you get on with your day, what would be the one piece of advice you would give to someone who has or will be starting university for the first time?

Nigel: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I haven’t been in school for a long time. But one piece of advice I would give would be to work hard, stick with it for a bit and if you find that it doesn’t fit who you are, then find something else. University is not the end of it!

Photo Credit: Catherine Starkey

The Rage Rooms can be found on St. Benedict’s View, Grape Hill, Norwich NR2 4HH.

If you would like to find out more or book a viewing, please call 01603626873 or visit their website at www.ragerooms-norwich.co.uk

Follow them on Instagram: @rageroomsnorwich