Children's centre opening

CHILDREN living in Litcham were given the chance to put food at the forefront of their education on Friday, at the launch of a £700,000 children's centre.

CHILDREN living in Litcham were given the chance to put food at the forefront of their education on Friday, at the launch of a £700,000 children's centre.

Toddlers and their parents from in and around Litcham were celebrating their new purpose-built SureStart children's centre, having made do with a village hall for years.

The new facility comes complete with a community room, dedicated consulting room, teachers' area, child care room and, most importantly to the celebrity chef guest invited to do the official opening, a large kitchen room for children to learn how to cook.

Galton Blackiston, based at Morston in north Norfolk, said it was a delight to see.


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“I think it is fantastic Norfolk is beginning to lead the way in cooking, there is a massive interest out there with children being interested in cooking, from the television but also through projects like this.”

Pam Arrowsmith, centre co-ordinator in charge of the programme in the Litcham High School catchment area, from Beetley to Harpley in the west, said she hoped it would change children's lives.

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“The aim is to give children the best start in life,” she said. “And getting their parents involved.”

As well as cooking, a large focus of the centre is on outdoor learning, and it will be offering training to pre-school providers on the Forest Education Initiative, which aims to get children more aware of the environment.

Mum Carol Howell, who takes her daughter Hannah, who is two, said: “It's brilliant. The staff are great and there is a huge difference as to what is available. The building and the facilities are amazing and parents are welcome.”

All the facilities were chosen according to what was thought was needed in the area. And the centre is run by a voluntary management committee, made up of parents with professional advice.

Another centre is due to be officially launched in Fakenham, and once the centres are fully up and running there will be an outreach programme, from Dereham to rural toddler groups.

Children and parents from the junior school also benefit from the centre as they get to use the facilities as children up to 14 also use the centre for breakfast and after school.

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