Celebrations at Watton community centre

An open day for the Watton Christian Community Centre, to celebrate its refurbishment. From left, bu

An open day for the Watton Christian Community Centre, to celebrate its refurbishment. From left, buildings officer Brian Lawrence, chair of the management committee David Fitt, leader of Breckland Council Michael Wassall and Watton Deputy Mayor John Rogers. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Members of the community joined together to celebrate 25 years of a town centre facility.

An open day was held at Watton Christian Community Centre on Saturday to mark the 25th anniversary of the formation of the venue.

The event also gave those in charge of the thriving facility the chance to recognise the help they received as part of their 2013 refurbishment programme - and those who use the centre the chance to promote their group and organisation.

As part the revamp project, the original methodist chapel had its 140-year-old roof renewed and the car park was resurfaced and re-lined.

A memorial plaque was unveiled on Saturday by Breckland District Council leader Michael Wassell and Watton Town Council's deputy mayor John Rogers in celebration.

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Mr Wassell said: 'This is a great community facility and Breckland has been very happy to help fund this facility. It's important that the district council and town council are able to contribute to a building like this which is used by so many organisations in the community, including Breckland Council itself which uses it as one its polling stations for elections.'

Mr Rogers added: 'It's a wonderful facility and it's used by so many groups. It's somewhere they can all meet and hold functions and it's an important facility for the people of Watton and the surrounding villages.'

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The centre, which is run by the Methodist church and St Mary's parish church, is used by groups including art and fitness classes, a railway club, the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Wayland Lacemakers, the Surestart Children's Centre in Watton and music groups.

Facilities offered at the centre include two large meeting rooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, toilets, offices and car parking.

Last year's refurbishment project cost some £17,000, of which the management committee needed to find £4,500.

Organisations which funded the project included the Geoffrey Watling Charity, Paul Bassam Trust, Watton Town Council, Breckland District Council and Methodist Insurance plus individual donations and funds from the Women's Institute.

Deacon Steve Sowerby, from the Methodist church, said: 'The centre is the focal point of the community and it's good to have somewhere where people can come and feel comfortable; people who have nothing to do with the church come here and feel comfortable and use the centre, feel part of the community and enjoy whatever it is they are using the centre for.

'So many groups use the centre - it's a thriving community.'

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