A new high street project by Breckland Council aims to help new local businesses open up shops on the district’s high streets.
Through its new “Meanwhile - Enterprise Grant Scheme”, the district council will offer business support and up to £10,000 to help local businesses take on shops that are currently empty in and around Breckland market towns.
The council hopes that this will give fledgling businesses a leg-up, giving the owners of businesses that are just starting out the ability to secure a spot on the high street. The scheme is also open to retailers looking to relocate a business to a Breckland market town. The project will help to reduce the number of empty shops in local towns and villages, ensuring Breckland high streets continue to thrive.
Breckland Council has been awarded an award from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for its efforts to offer high levels of support to members of the Armed Forces and their families.
Cllr Sam Chapman-Allen, Leader of Breckland Council, and Maxine O’Mahony, Breckland’s Chief Executive, received the award this week from the Ministry of Defence.
Gold status in the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme recognises councils which have put in place considerable support for serving personnel, reservists, veterans, families, cadets, and the wider military community across the district.
Breckland Council's initiatives include signposting armed forces personnel and their families to national and local support groups, 1-2-1 advice to assist with mental health and housing concerns and supporting employment opportunities within local government.
Swanton Morley has been named Norfolk’s first ‘mindful village’ on World Mental Health Day, after a group of residents accessed the Breckland Mindful Towns programme and trained to become mental health community champions.
Breckland Council launched the Mindful Towns scheme in partnership with Norfolk and Waveney Mind and Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney in 2021. The program offers free Mental Health training and education to Breckland based community organisations and small businesses. The programme recognises those areas who engage with the scheme as a community, and who put provision in place to enhance the mental health of local residents, with Mindful Town or Village award status.
A new mobile food store is launching to serve the rural communities of Breckland.
The service will provide a way to shop for healthy, nutritious food and store cupboard staples at a reduced price, to help residents tackle increasing living costs or difficulties getting to other shops due to isolation. Friendly expert staff on the bus are trained to offer wider support such as advice on debt management, isolation & loneliness and mental health, and will signpost customers to a range of services that can offer further help, where needed.
Informed by data, the bus will begin its route in early May, stopping in Swanton Morley, Bawdeswell, Shipdham, Carbrooke, Saham Toney, Ashill, Necton, Narborough, Weeting and East Harling.
Exciting new plans for the future of Watton and Swaffham have been drawn up as part of the Future Breckland project.
Future Breckland: Thriving People and Places is a project to revitalise Breckland’s five market towns and equip them for the future. The project has already seen a plan drawn up for Dereham: plans for Attleborough and Thetford will follow. Now, the newly-revealed plans for Watton and Swaffham are setting out proposals that are individually-tailored for each town. The proposals include long-term goals for the next decade and shorter-term goals for the next one to three years.
The plans have been drafted by economic specialists Hatch, with urban regeneration experts, We Made That, after being commissioned by Breckland Council. The programme is being backed by Norfolk County Council and local town councils.
The Daisy Programme and Thetford Town Ladies Football Club have announced they will be working together to raise awareness of domestic abuse, and the support available to those affected by it, in Breckland.
The Daisy Programme will run awareness sessions at the football club, and invite the players to become domestic abuse awareness ambassadors. The charity’s logo will also be displayed on part of Thetford Town Ladies’ kit, as a way of making fans more aware of the work they do.
The arrangement between the club and the charity was made by Breckland Council, which works with The Daisy Programme. Cllr Stuart Terry, who represents Thetford Boudicca ward on Breckland Council, is also an assistant coach at Thetford Town Ladies. He brought the idea of working with the charity to officers at the council, and the link was made with The Daisy Programme.
Today (Friday 22 October) saw the official unveiling of Dereham’s wayfinding panels and finger posts that have been installed around the town to help bring its rich history to life and direct pedestrians to various points of interest.
The project was led by the aboutDereham Partnership and jointly funded by Breckland Council, Dereham Town Council and Norfolk County Council. The 14 information panels, designed in the main by local historian Sue Walker from Dereham Heritage Trust, contain lots of interesting facts, maps and old photos about the town’s past and its famous people. The panels guide visitors around the town to its main attractions and local landmarks such as Dereham Windmill, Bishop Bonner’s Cottage and the Mid-Norfolk Railway. The panels are complemented by new fingerpost direction signs around the town.
The Rowan Project launched in February 2021 to offer free counselling and support for survivors of sexual abuse in the Breckland area. Anyone over 16 of any gender who has experienced sexual assault, abuse or violence in their lives – both recently or in childhood – can contact the Rowan Project and talk to one of their counsellors in a safe environment.
The charity is a new branch of the Daisy Programme which has supported survivors of domestic abuse for over six years developing a trauma based and client-centred approach. The team at Daisy saw an urgent need for more specialist support for sexual abuse, hiring specialised counsellors who have experience and training in this field.
“We believe that people should not be defined by the trauma they have experienced,” says Leigh Doran, Programme Director at the Rowan Project. “Every person is unique and different as is their experience of abuse, and we believe that with the right support every person has the potential to develop their personal strengths and rebuild their lives.”
Since the Rowan Project launched in February 2021 they have built a large client base, some of whom have never spoke about their experience until their first one-to-one counselling session. However, they have managed to keep their waiting list lower by delivering a targeted and evidence-based service in up to 18 sessions.
Breckland Council’s work to support vulnerable residents through the coronavirus pandemic has been boosted by a donation from Norwich City Football Club and Norwich City Community Sports Foundation.
There are more than 3,600 people in the district who the NHS consider to be ‘extremely vulnerable’ and the council is supporting them by making welfare calls and, where needed, distributing medicines and food parcels.
The club and its foundation recently boosted the local effort by donating 120 parcels to the council, containing essential non-perishable food items such as tinned goods and dried foods. The boxes also included hand sanitiser, toilet roll, sweet treats, a NCFC gift and a note from celebrity chef and Canaries shareholder Delia Smith.
The support is part of the club and foundation’s Canaries COVID-19 Community Support Project which has seen £200k donated by the football club’s players, staff and directors, to help the county respond to covid-19.
Once, if you were driving to Norwich or the Broads from the Midlands or the North you could not miss Dereham, in the dead centre of Norfolk. The A47 went straight through the middle of the place, and the chances were that you would be in a traffic jam and decide to take a break and explore this busy Georgian market town.
Now the probability is that you will pass it by, noticing perhaps just the sign to Dereham (also known as East Dereham) . Those who live there know it as Dereham, a reference to the fact that in bygone times deer roamed the nearby woods and forests.