New Brewhouse community centre to open in Pulham Market tomorrow

A new village community centre will be opening this weekend following a �20,000 refurbishment to revive the building.

The Brewhouse, in Station Road, Pulham Market, will be opening on Saturday following the extensive redecoration funded by cash raised over a two-year period by private donations and a grant from South Norfolk Council.

The aim is to provide a facility for groups and organisations which can not afford to use the village hall and the 6 Vill Youth Group – which serves the villages of Pulham Market, Pulham St Mary, Dickleburgh, Starston, Rushall and Thelveton – has already moved into the premises which unofficially reopened at the start of the year.

The new community centre is another guise for a building which has been used for a number of different purposes during its lifetime.

Known as the Brewhouse since it opened in the 18th century, the building was initially converted into two cottages and remained divided this way until the 1950s.

Brewhouse chairman Fred Howard said a doctors' surgery then moved in and remained there during the 1950s, 60s and 70s before the Brewhouse was converted into a music studio where music lessons were taught.

The building was then owned by Jocelyn Rawlings and her husband and was used by the Liberal Democrats as a home for their constituency team.

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However, Mrs Rawlings, aged in her 90s, put the building up for sale two years ago, to be bought at auction by the village's St Mary Magdalene Church for �62,000.

Since then, the church has been raising money for the refurbishment, which was finished a week after Christmas. Mr Howard said: 'We are hoping it is going to grow as a community asset in the village where people can use it for various things. It is a community building for anybody within our own community that has a need for a smaller building, but can't afford to get into the village hall where they need a hire fee.'

He added that the building was in a 'poor state' when the church bought it and in urgent need of improvements, especially as some of the cupboards had been there since the days of the doctors' surgery.

The two downstairs rooms, which used to house the surgery, have been converted into one big room with a foyer, which could accommodate 30 or 40 people, while the old prescription room became the kitchen.

There is also an office for the 6 Vill Youth Group, while upstairs there is a small toilet.

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