Final week for competition entries from budding writers

By: Innes Enslin

There is just one week left for children and young people across Norfolk to submit their entries into Norfolk County Council’s creative writing competition for 5-13 year olds.

Write On Norfolk – a competition aimed at boosting summer learning and honing children’s writing skills has already received more than 120 entries since it opened on the 5 June, and now with just a week to go Norfolk County Council is encouraging even more children to get their entries in before it’s too late.  The Write On Norfolk competition is open to children and young people who are aged between five and 13 years old. Budding writers are asked to submit a piece of original creative writing before 31 August.

For the second year Jarrold of Norwich is backing the competition and will be donating Jarrold book tokens as prizes. In addition to these vouchers there will be a prize of an Amazon Fire tablet up for grabs for the gold winners.  Plus those writers who are enrolled in the Children’s University, their entries will earn credits towards their degree.

Alison Thomas, Deputy Leader of Norfolk County Council, who is one of the final judges for the competition said: “Helping Norfolk’s children achieve their full potential by giving them every opportunity to develop vital skills like reading and writing is a key priority for the county council which is why I’m so pleased that we are running this competition again.

“Last year I enjoyed reading some wonderful stories and poems from young people across Norfolk, and I hope that this year we get even more children taking part.

“As a Mum myself, I know just how important it is to keep up those skills during the long weeks of the summer holidays, but this competition is designed to be a fun way of doing it so I hope that parents, grandparents and carers will give them as much encouragement as possible to enter.”

BBC Radio Norfolk’s breakfast presenter, Nick Conrad, who will also judge the entries added: “Children can be wonderfully creative. Anything that marries up improving English skills, promoting literature and encouraging our next generation to get inspired, I support. I look forward to reading the stories and adventures conjured up by the minds of Norfolk’s school children.”

The only rules for the competition are that the writing must be a maximum of 500 words (roughly one side of A4 paper), and it must contain a link to Norfolk. The entry can be a short story, poem, script or even song lyrics and must be submitted online via the Norfolk County Council website – Full details about the competition, including how to enter, and terms and conditions can be found by visiting the Council website.

Min’s going bald for change

Domestic Abuse campaigner Min Grob is facing a close shave to help a charity for those affected by  domestic abuse in Norfolk and Waveney.

“You know that song ‘I want to wash that man right out of my hair’? Well I want to cut him out.

“It’s taken some time to get up the courage to do it but now is the right time,” she said. “You always know when something has happened because people change their hair… well I was 50 this year and I wanted to go into the second half of my life unencumbered –  and that includes hair!”

She will be losing her long, dark hair at Leeway’s domestic violence conference on July 14 and she hopes to raise at least £2000.

“They have had a 27 per cent increase in demand, but not the corresponding funding,” said Min, founder of Conference on Coercive Control.

She is already making plans for her new hair, when it grows back but for now she plans a summer “swathed in scarves, maybe a panama” with a collection of bobble hats for the colder winter months.

Anyone who wants to sponsor Min should visit:

Aled Jones is coming to Norwich

Aled Jones MBE has announced a show stopping cathedral tour of the UK for next year, and he’s coming to Norwich.

The 22-date tour will see the singer travel around all three Nations in May and June 2016.

Friday 6th May is definitely a date for your diary as that is when the household name will be visiting our very own Norwich Cathedral.

Speaking about the upcoming tour, Mr Jones said: “I’m never more at home than when I’m singing in one the UK’s unrivalled cathedrals.

“I have been fortunate to sing in so many of these beautiful buildings over the years through my work with Songs of Praise but the idea of embarking on my biggest cathedral tour ever next year fills me with excitement and joy.

“I promise to give my best performances yet!”

The Aled Jones Cathedral Tour music is being presented by music promoters Cuffe and Taylor.

Aled is probably most famous for ‘Walking in the Air’, the song from the hit film, The Snowman.  The singer has made a record 30 albums throughout his career and sold a staggering eight million records.

Director Peter Taylor has said: “We are thrilled to be working with Aled and especially on such an exciting tour.

“He is, without a doubt, one of the UK’s best known performers and personalities, and someone who will leave audiences absolutely wowed by his voice.”

The Aled Jones Cathedral Tour tickets will be available on, with a limited number of meet and greet tickets also on sale.

Join them for a festive sing-along

The OPEN Youth Trust and Norwich Cathedral Choir will be bringing back the old tradition of the Barclays Bank Annual Community Carol Concert.

Norwich Cathedral Choir will be performing at Open, Bank Plain, from 1pm on Thursday (Dec 3) for about 40 minutes.

Local businesses and passers-by are invited to drop in any time between 11am and 5pm for refreshments and mince pies (provided by The Feed).

The event is free to attend and there will be a selection of Christmas gifts on sale and a chance to see around the venue. Donations from the event will be split 50-50 between the Norwich Cathedral Choir and the OPEN Youth Trust charities.

Ann Tattam, Conference & Event Manager said “We wanted to re-establish something many people in Norwich fondly remember.  The event brings the people of Norwich and the local business community together for a festive sing-along.”

The event has been sponsorship by Fosters solicitors.

Norwich Cathedral Male Choir


Home-grown celebrity is youth trust ambassador

The OPEN Youth Trust (OPEN) which provides positive opportunities for young people in Norfolk has announced BBC presenter Joe Crowley, will be joining them as their first ambassador.

Joe will be helping to spread the word about the Norwich-based charity’s work and sharing his media skills with young people who attend OPEN’s Your Life programme which gives them the confidence and skills to find their way in the world of employment.

As a young journalist, Joe started out in current affairs, presenting and reporting for the Inside Out programme as well as appearing on BBC Breakfast, Newsnight, BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 4’s Today Programme. He has presented a number of consumer, history and current affairs television series on BBC1, Channel 5 and National Geographic and he currently works on both Countryfile and The One Show for the BBC.

The former Hewett School pupil said: “I was thrilled to be asked to be an ambassador for OPEN and can’t wait to start spreading the word about their work and sharing my experience of working in radio and television with young people living in my home city.”

Joe Crowley

Aylsham butchers help out with workplace scheme

An Aylsham businesses is helping unemployed people make the cut by boosting their confidence in the workplace.

Former Aylsham chef Andy Baker is bringing small groups to the town on a regular basis to learn new skills, including butchery at Coxfords in the Market Place.

Andy heads up The Feed, a social enterprise which produces great tasting food while inspiring and motivating people to live a more fulfilling life. All the profits go into LEAP (Learning Employment and Accommodation Project), to support hundreds of adults to transform their lives.

“Our aim is to help the long-term employed of those who are homeless gain work experience to boost their self-esteem and help them get back onto employment and sort their accommodation,” he said. “Currently we have around 100 clients who we are helping.”

Funding for the scheme has come from the National Lottery and the PCC and has given the team the chance to offer a 12-week programme to clients who need their help.

The Feed section of the organisation is based at Open in Norwich and provides outside catering for anything from office lunches to an evening menu or functions.

Andy said: “We have had some great support from local businesses like Coxfords offering people the chance to build up their work skills and confidence.” Bretts Fruit and Veg, Bread Source and Grey Seal Coffee are also supporters. He added: “We have even had a cow donated by a local farmer for the team to practise their butchery skills on.”

Other groups have had the chance to work within the building industry and even learning to make suits.

Andy, whose background is in catering, said the idea of the LEAP project was to become self-sustaining with the profits from the feed and from donations. He started as a volunteer before taking on his current role. He hopes to be in a position soon to take on a paid apprentice. His ultimate goal, however, is a The Feed restaurant in the city centre.

The Feed has had a busy year, having been involved in Norwich Food and Drink Festival, Porkstock, Battle of the Bangers and working alongside Charlie Hodgson at The Great Hospital.

Its next big event will be on December 3, when chefs will be providing mince pies for the Christmas gift fair at Open in Bank Plain. It’s free entry. The event will include the launch of #BuySocial, when The Feed will be selling British-made, aprons produced in local factories for Christmas.

You can follow @TheFeedCIC on twitter using #foodconnectspeople. There’s also websites and where you can find out more and how you can get involved.


All dressed up to raise £17,000 for youth chairty

A black tie dinner held at the OPEN Venue on Bank Plain in Norwich on November 11 raised more than £17,000 for the OPEN Youth Trust.

Guests were stirred by speeches and performances from young people whom the charity has helped make a positive difference to their lives.

During the evening the audience also saw videos of support from Olympic medal winning boxer Anthony Ogogo and Norwich City’s Declan Rudd.

Chief Executive John Gordon-Saker said: “Whilst raising additional funds is always important, our priority was to reach out to the broader business community and create on-going partnerships, sponsorship and wider use of our conference and event facilities so that we can significantly increase the range of activities we can offer young people and achieve the best for them and their families.”

Russ Dacre, chair of trustees for OPEN, said: “We felt the evening was a fitting celebration of 10 years of the OPEN Youth Trust. The young people’s performances, however, for me really made the evening.”

Young people performers

Girls have the icing on the cake for charity

Two Sprowston students have been baking and selling to raise money for a charity close to their hearts.

Georgia Breckons and her friend Shanice Alden-Goodall, who go to Open Academy, organised a cake sale at their school to raise £75.54 for the British Heart Foundation.

Georgia said: “This charity has a special meaning to me, my brother was born with severe heart defects. He had two major open heart surgery operations before he was six months old.”

She added: “Since being in sixth form at Open Academy I have taken on the role of lead fundraiser.  I am so grateful for the support both other students and staff gave me.”
Next on the fundraising calendar is a school talent show and non uniform day.
“I am very excited and happy to have this opportunity at school. I just want to thank all the teachers and students that have helped so far,” she added.

Open Academy Sixth Form will be holding a open evening on November 11, and will be giving prospective students on the chance to look round from  5.45pm – 7.30pm. The evening is a chance for students to look around the academy and speak to course teachers about the A levels and Btecs on offer.

See more at

 Georgia is on the right and Shanice on the left.

Georgia is on the right and Shanice on the left.