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Joy as children's centre is opened

PUBLISHED: 17:22 22 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:53 02 June 2010

Former soccer star Jeremy Goss tries hand painting with four year-old Nicola.

Former soccer star Jeremy Goss tries hand painting with four year-old Nicola.

Young parents in the Watton area who are looking for help on vital issues such as jobs, health, childcare, schools can seek advice and support from a new centre offering a range of services.

Young parents in the Watton area who are looking for help on vital issues such as jobs, health, childcare, schools can seek advice and support from a new centre offering a range of services.

The Watton SureStart Children's Centre opened to the public on Friday and aims to reach out to over 600 children and their parents in the Wayland area.

The £320,000 brand new centre adjoining the Westfield Infant and Nursery School caters for children under five and their families and offers childcare, health provision and support from Job Centre Plus.

Canary legend Jeremy Goss, and now Norwich City FC community ambassador marked the official opening.

“It's fantastic to have such a centre in Watton. This is where we will be looking in a few years' time to find new supporters and perhaps players for our club. Watton is already a great fan of our team and we are very grateful for their support,” he said.

Just recently the centre launched a new parent group for those with children under one while parents and carers have also taken part in a baby first aid course.

Claire Murdoch, centre manager, said: “This is a really exciting time for children and families living in the area. It has been fantastic to see so many people accessing activities at the Centre and, by consulting with the community, we will be offering many more activities and services.

“The opening is a celebration of the hard work of so many groups and individuals.

Also attending the official opening were Watton Mayor Keith Gilbert and Brian Lawrence, chair of governors at the Westfield Infant and Nursery School.

“It has taken a lot of hard work to get this building up and running and I am sure it will be of great service to the community. It's most certainly a great facility to have in Watton.”

The centre has the backing of Norfolk County Council which is responsible with the delivery of the SureStart Children's Centres in the county - a programme which involves parents, carers and key partners in the public and voluntary sector

There are now 36 Children's Centres in the county, with plans to develop another 15 by 2011.

Rosalie Monbiot, Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said: “This Sure Start Children's Centre is already thriving and I am delighted to see what a positive impact it is having on the community.

“This centre will provide a whole range of services for children and families for generations to come, all within easy access of their homes. Children's Centres are aimed at improving the life chances of children and raising the aspirations of them and their carers.”

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