Pre-school transforms Eaton Parish Hall in Norwich

A parish hall which was saved for the community and the church last year by a pre-school group has been transformed with new toilets, a new room and children's play areas.

The Beehive childcare group took over the running of the parish hall in Colman Road, Eaton, last year. The group, which had been a tenant there since 1970, was granted a licence to manage the hall which was previously run by Christ Church in Eaton, but the church retained a role there.

Tina Royal, manager of the pre-school, said: 'Thanks to grants from the lottery and from Norfolk County Council we have been able to add some major improvements, but the hall is an old building so the work is not completed yet.

'We have doubled the number of toilets we have at the hall from two to four, which means there are now child toilets for both sexes. The old stage at the hall has been removed to create a new room for the pre-school and we have created a new hard surface play space for the children, after Carters, from Drayton, voluntarily took away a compost heap from the site.

'We are also creating another play area for the children at the back of the garden, which is being done by volunteers. Another volunteer is also decorating a side room using his own materials.'

The hall was used by groups every night of the week, including Brownies, aikido and dance groups, she said.

'Because it's predominantly used by groups that have got children, the toilets were especially needed,' she added.

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As reported, three years ago the future of the parish hall was uncertain with insufficient income being generated from the hall to pay for urgent church repairs, but leasing the hall solved the problems of management and caretaking and provided finances to invest in the hall's future.

An architect's inspection three years ago showed that the church council would need to spend all its reserves on the church itself and could not invest in the hall as well.

Extra funding and volunteers are still needed. If you can help contact Tina on 07525 716579.

Does your church or community centre need urgent repairs? Call David Bale on 01603 772427 or email