Worstead Festival is a hit with village school

Worstead Festival chairman Simon Cole (left) with representatives of organisations who were awarded

Worstead Festival chairman Simon Cole (left) with representatives of organisations who were awarded grants (from left) Helen Kelly (Choir Worstead). Matthew Smith (North Walsham Play), Jo Read (Worstead School), Ellie Beattie (Worstead Guild of Weavers) and Wayne Beauchamp (North Walsham and District Archives). Picture: GAY WEBSTER - Credit: GAY WEBSTER

A shortage of classroom space at a Norfolk primary school meant some children had to be taught out in the hall.

But, thanks to ongoing support from Worstead Festival Charity, they now have a new classroom.

The school was presented with a cheque for £10,000 at the organisation's annual meeting in the village hall this month.

It was one of a number of groups to benefit from grants totalling more than £16,000.

The festival made a profit of around £20,000 this year, helped by good weather and 15,000-plus visitors.

Worstead headteacher Jo Read said: 'Thanks to the ongoing support of the Worstead Festival Charity, we have been able to fund a much needed additional classroom, freeing up our hall space which was previously used as a classroom.

'The building has transformed our Early Years provision, dining facilities and PE opportunities. The school now hosts a fantastic range of activities which simply would not have been possible without the support of the charity, including free after-school sports clubs every night for the children, a baby and toddler group, cookery clubs, coffee mornings and book fairs.

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'We would like to say a huge 'thank you' from the whole school community.'

Others to benefit this month were The Choir Worstead, North Walsham Archives group, North Walsham Play, Worstead Guild of Weavers (for toilets at their HQ) and Scottow Church Church (for church heaters). Money left over will remain in the funding pot.

Matthew Smith, from North Walsham Play, which received £2,500, said: 'The very generous donation has enabled us to start putting plans together to bring about the new play park in the new year. The donation means a lot of all members of the committee and we would all like to personally thank everyone involved with organising such a well-loved and well-supported festival.'

Wayne Beauchamp, from North Walsham Archives, added: 'Thanks to the awesome Worstead Festival committee for donating £500 to our group, The North Walsham and District Community Archive, to help with our work archiving the area's history. This will help enormously. We plan to buy storage equipment for keeping our massive collection of photos and documents safely stored, both digitally and physically, and also a new portable scanner to aid in digitising photos 'on location'.'

The charity has a long history of helping groups and organisations both in its villages and in neighbouring parishes.

Chairman Simon Cole said: 'The effort that goes into the festival over the course of the entire year is all worthwhile when we get to give these grants to groups who are doing so much good for their communities.

'The 2016 festival was a particularly good one, with some new ideas working well and our visitors responding very positively to the whole event.

'Plans for 2017 are well in train and we look forward to welcoming both regulars and those who have not come to see the festival before.'

The annual meeting included the election of directors for the year, with six standing again and one new member joining.

Next year's event will be held over the weekend of July 29 and 30. Grant applications open in March and close at the end of September for the amounts to be agreed in time for the 2017 AGM at the beginning of December.

See more at www.worsteadfestival.org, check out the festival's Facebook pages and follow @worsteadfest on Twitter.

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