New Long Stratton children’s centre completes �9.5m Norfolk Sure Start investment

The final cog in a new support network for Norfolk families was completed today with the opening of a new children's centre in Long Stratton.

Staff, parents, and youngsters gathered at the new �1.5m facility in Long Stratton, which marked the end of a �9.5m round of investment for the county's youngest children.

Dozens of communities have benefited from a final phase of projects from the Sure Start capital programme over the last three years.

Alison Thomas, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for children's services, who officially opened the new centre, said the investment ensured that Norfolk provided a good network of children's centres across the county.

The new facilities at Manor Field Infant and Nursery School have been in use since September and also includes a nursery, specialist educational needs base, as well as a place offering advice to parents and families that need extra support.

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Plans for a children's centre in the village were first started more than five years ago, which brings together Manor Field Infant, Long Stratton High, and St Mary's Junior School.

The facility supports up to 754 children under five and their families living in the area. The activities currently on offer include a monthly Saturday dads' group, wiggle and jiggle action song sessions, fortnightly baby song and playtime, weekly messy play and a young parents' group.

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Activities and groups are held both at the new children's centre and in village halls, schools and other community facilities across the area.

Alex Lightbown, headteacher of Manor Field Infant and Nursery School, said: 'We have held these ambitious plans for quite some time, aspiring to ensure we can cater for all of children's early education and support needs on one site. Our specialist resource base will be able to support children across the local area, near to their homes and schools, reducing travel times for many and giving them the chance to return to their home school, where appropriate.'

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