A NEW community coffee and lounge bar has opened at a parish hall.

Coffee@WRFive has opened at Norton Parish Hall, after parish trustees admitted that they needed to bring in more money to maintain the hall.

The bar and coffee lounge will be run entirely by volunteers and is only part of a number of plans for the hall and the surrounding areas.

Kevin Fincher, chairman of the Norton-juxta-Kempsey Parish Hall Trustees said: "Everything that has been done is with the community in mind and we are really happy with it.

"We realised that the hall needs work to it, particularly a new roof and for that we needed new revenue, that was not going to come just from renting the hall out.

"We have already had people calling about renting it for weddings and christenings now that it has a bar area and I think this will be a really good community facility."

The new bar, which opened to the public on Saturday, has a kitchen and serves alcohol as well as soft drinks, ice-cream and doughnut making machines have also been bought.

Plans are now afoot to create a new picnic area, as well as a trim trail and running area, a swamp garden and to resurface the car park.

Jane Greenway, clerk to Norton-juxta-Kempsey Parish Council said: "I think it is a great service for the community which will help to provide a good meeting place, I expect it to be a big success."

The bar and coffee facility will be open from 10.30am until 7.30pm on every day except Monday for the first six weeks, before more permanent opening hours are decided.

Wychavon invested £37,000 into the scheme through a New Homes Bonus grant to Norton-juxta-Kempsey Parish Council to allow the conversion of the room to take place.

Another £10,000 came from the Big Lottery Fund for equipment.

Councillor Audrey Steel, chairman of Wychavon’s Localism and Community Funding Advisory Panel, said: "This is an excellent example of how New Homes Bonus money is being spent to benefit communities and meet local priorities.

"Not only will it provide a wonderful place for people to meet and socialise it will also help sustain the village hall long-term. I wish the trustees every success for the future."