The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Norwich church creates more childcare space

EatonToddlersCF350A Norwich church has welcomed their local toddler group to regularly meet in their church building in order to free-up church premises for use by a childcare group to meet the increased demand for childcare in the area.

Christ Church, Eaton saw that the Beehive Childcare group needed to increase its use of its premises so they could fully cater for the needs of the community. They now use Eaton Parish Hall on Colman Road more frequently, meaning that the local toddler group has relocated to the church building nearby.

The church moved pews in August to increase the space available, meaning that the toddler group can continue to meet locally, while the childcare group can provide more time and places in the Parish Hall.

The vicar, the Rev Dr Patrick Richmond said: “As vicar and a community governor at Colman Infant school, I know what an advantage both the Beehive Childcare Group and the toddler group are to the local community. Having visited and sung nursery rhymes with the Toddler group in the Parish Hall for seven years, I’m delighted that they are now enjoying meeting in the church itself. The church council sees this as a way of strengthening our service to the local community and of using our beautiful building in a way we hope bodes well for the future.”

The toddler group is not run by the church, but is supported by members of the congregation, and had met in the Parish hall since it was started in the 1970s by Maria Phillips, the wife of the then Vicar of Eaton. The Beehive Childcare group has been using both the hall and, until July, rooms on the grounds of Colman Infant School. The increase in demand for places at the school meant the Beehive needed to make more use of the hall where the toddler group met. After consultation, Christ Church’s council agreed to increased use of the hall during the week. The Beehive’s provision is an important asset to the school and the local community and increased use of the Hall allows the Beehive to offer full day care through the week in the area. The toddler group has begun to meet in the church and is flourishing.

In 2008 the church council realised it needed to spend all its reserves on the church itself, so in 2010 the church council came to a new leasing agreement for the Hall with the Beehive Childcare Group. The Beehive took on day to day management of the hall while the church retained ownership. This agreement has allowed the church to raise over £50,000 in grants for the hall while making significant repairs to the church fabric, restoring the church windows this year at a cost of £65,000. The church is now planning to fund raise for a disabled access WC and kitchen facility as well as for its organ.

Click here for information on Christ Church, Eaton and its fundraising links

For information and to hire Eaton Parish Hall, please contact Emma Taylor, Administrator, The Beehive Childcare Group Tel: 01603 259193 or

For information about the Colman Road Toddler Group please contact Stacey Gray 07799193366

Rev’d Dr Patrick Richmond can be contacted on 01603 250844 or

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