Cromer pre-school group celebrates opening of new building

A North Norfolk playgroup has celebrated its �180,000 transformation with a grand re-opening day for the whole community.

Seaview Playgroup, based in North Lodge Park in Cromer, has benefited from essential repairs and maintenance, with a new roof, kitchen and toilets. The improvements have been funded by Norfolk County Council, via its Sure Start Capital Grant and the completion of the work was marked with a special celebration event on Saturday .

At the opening, as well as music from the Pre-School Music Association (PRESMA), there were also notice boards showing the renovation work and reflections on the experiences of past pupils, which include former Blue Peter presenter Simon Thomas.

The pre-school building is owned by North Norfolk District Council and leased to the group for a peppercorn rent. It supports more than 50 children aged two to five, providing childcare places in the morning and afternoon.

The Seaview Playgroup opened in North Lodge on Overstrand Road in 1975, but it had gone 21 years without decoration and was beginning to show its age.

As a result of the repair work needed, since last October the group had been forced to hold classes in the guide headquarters on Overstrand Road.

Searching for funding to help with repairs, they applied to Norfolk County Council's Sure Start development fund. After investigating the council told the group they could be eligible for more money and hence the complete refit of the building in North Lodge Park.

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Leonora Oakley, manager of the pre-school, said: 'It is fantastic when you think that you are just asking for help for a few repairs but someone says you deserve a bit more.

'These improvements will make a big difference to our pre-school, as we now have a building that is fit for purpose and know that our future is secure.'

She said they had also doubled in size over the Easter holidays, taking in 50 children this term, compared to 22 last term and they were now offering three new afternoon sessions, in addition to their previous five morning sessions.