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Future plans for five axed children's centres revealed

PUBLISHED: 14:13 07 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:13 07 August 2019

Rachel Forsyth, left, and Lorna Berry, right, are behind Holt's latest community cafe and zero waste shop in Holt. Photo: Submitted by Rachel Forsyth

Rachel Forsyth, left, and Lorna Berry, right, are behind Holt's latest community cafe and zero waste shop in Holt. Photo: Submitted by Rachel Forsyth

Submitted by Rachel Forsyth

A family-friendly cafe, community support base and space for more nursery school places are the latest plans revealed for a network of children's centres in Norfolk.

The five centres are among those which Norfolk County Council voted to close in a bid to reduce its children's centres budget and move away from directly providing services through the buildings.

The former Holt Children's Centre, on Charles Road, is set to open as a family-friendly cafe.

The Treehouse Cafe plans to offer groups for young children, their families and the wider community.

An eco-friendly eatery, the cafe will run a community allotment where food grown can be used on site. A wild area for a meadow will also be created to encourage wildlife as well as form a peaceful place for picnics and play.

Directors Rachel Forsyth and Lorna Berry said they wanted the cafe to be a "home from home, a place where everyone is welcome and can enjoy a cuppa without being rushed".

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"The outside space will be as important as our indoor area where people can join us in building a community garden or, just enjoy the beautiful space."

Operating out of the current children's centre building, it will also be home to a community fridge and a zero-waste shop.

Groups and workshops planned include a breastfeeding cafe, gardening and cooking clubs, weigh and stay, speech and language support sessions, and a child and adult carers' cafe.

Meanwhile, plans for four other children's centre buildings have been announced.

- Emneth Children's Centre, based at the nursery school on Hollycroft Road, will be handed over to the nursery so it can expand.

- Mundesley Children's Centre, on Trunch Road, is being handed to Pebbles Pre-School and Day Care Nursery ahead of proposals to develop an after-school and holiday club.

- In Wells, the council will hand the building to Polka Day Care, based on Polka Road, to allow them to expand their day care operation.

- And in West Earlham the building is currently being used as an outreach venue by Bowthorpe Children's Centre, based at West Earlham Infant and Nursery School. However, with no regular activities there, the building will be handed over to the school as a permanent base to support families with young children in the local community.

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