A north Norfolk community is being encouraged to make use of a pavilion which opened its doors this weekend following a three-month, £180,000 refurbishment.

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Aylsham pavilion has raised its game with new showers, upgraded changing rooms, a public toilet, which is accessible even when the building is closed, and a new kitchen.

The town’s Sure Start Children’s Services will now move its offices into the pavilion and will run an outreach programme from the front hall from Monday to Friday, but organisers also hope people will hire the building at evenings and weekends.

Committee member Heather Morton said between 50 and 60 people had turned out to celebrate the opening on Saturday.

“Everybody’s really delighted with the new facility,” she said. “Sure Start will make a real difference to local families and it’s something the whole community can use. I’m really excited about how everybody has got behind it and we have something that can be used for a good many years.

“This is something that doesn’t happen on its own and people have been so supportive.”

The original pavilion, which burnt down in the 1950s, was a gift to the people of Aylsham by the Goulder family who lost their three sons in the first world war. The building that replaced it was a product of its time, however, and designed when only men would have used it.

The new pavilion has separate shower and toilet facilities for which means adult and junior teams or men and women’s teams can use it at the same time.

It also has baby changing facilities and a shower and toilet for people with disabilities.

Committee chairman Gerry Grimes said: “It’s an ideal location for children’s parties and is available at reasonable rates.

“Last weekend 22 children had breakfast with Santa.”

Funding came from the Norfolk County Council Community Construction Fund, Sport England Inspired Facilities, Broadland Community Capital Grant, Aylsham Town Council and local sponsors which included the Aylsham Agricultural Show, Aylsham Ex-Servicemen’s Club, Aylsham Rotary, Lisa Dawson Interiors, The Gate of India, C&S Cleaners and Postles.

To find out more about hiring the hall, contact Mr Grimes on 01263 733027.

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