Everyone should be proud of efforts to rejuvenate our community centre

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OFFICIAL ENGAGEMENT: Former Mayor Jeremy Punchard opens the PACT charity shop last year in Fakenham.

Now with the evolution of Fakenham Community Campus Trust Ltd to improve services on the whole site, action has started to speak much louder than words.

For starters, a successful bid to the county council’s Community Construction Fund enabled work to get going on the entrance foyer and the toilets. This £97,000 project produced impressive results. The formerly dark and dingy reception area is now bright and welcoming and, dare I say it, a visit to the loo so much more civilised. The significant follow up to this improvement was to completely refurbish the main hall. Funds for this came from Awards for All and community group Fakenham Area Partnership, both of whom contributed £10,000. A further £2,000 was drawn from operating profits at the centre itself. After the ceiling was treated the fragile floor, the subject of numerous complaints, was completely relaid. As I write, this is still ongoing but due to be completed shortly with committee members planning a ‘hall warming’ ceremony some time in September. With attention already given to the surrounding grounds thanks to the Gardening in Fakenham group run by Iona Chamberlain, the next priority will be to develop a playground area at the back of the building for regular users Ladybirds pre-schoolers. And also to decorate the lounge and bar area. It’s been a challenging programme so far and there’s plenty more still to do. But everyone associated with what has been achieved so far should be rightly proud of their efforts. The big variety of user groups who come through the doors of the building every week - for pilates, bowls, dance, drama and much more - must surely join in the chorus of approval.

I gave publicity last week to the Active Fakenham extravaganza which is now well under way. Sporting and other activities, most of them free, will continue in town on a daily basis through until Sunday August 30 when the curtain comes down – but not before completion of the Fakenham 50 bike rides. If you’re not up to cycling the lanes of North Norfolk you might care to welcome the pedal brigade back to the community centre in the late morning. There will be folk music, face painting, cakes and afternoon tea to enjoy.

I can’t recall an occasion when a town mayor resigned as a local councillor partway through his year in office. But Jeremy Punchard has done just that by calling it a day so far as his ties with the town council are concerned. He thus lays down the mayoral chain but will continue to serve as a district councillor for the south ward. This leaves a vacant seat to be filled come September. If ten electors get together and call for an election in writing, that will be the next step. Otherwise, as in the past, the seat will be filled by co-option. So whilst it may be all change at the top, basically it will be business as usual.