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Norfolk library events help loneliness misery

Research has shown that loneliness can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is associated with depression, high blood pressure and dementia, according to Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s communities committee.

Since Norfolk County Council launched its In Good Company campaign to tackle loneliness in the county, the library service has more than doubled the number of events it runs which are suitable for people who may be experiencing loneliness or social isolation.

And from June 21-23 more than 20 council libraries will be hosting In Good Company events and activities as part of the national Great Get Together project.

It’s an approach which earlier this year drew the praise of Arts Council England which highlighted the way it was helping to build community cohesion and promote positive ways that people can connect with their neighbours – recognised nationally as the most important way of tackling loneliness and social isolation.

Jan Holden, head of libraries and information, said: “From afternoon teas, knit and natter and board games to colour me calm sessions and book groups, our regular programme of events encourages people to enjoy the company of others whilst taking part in a fun activity or simply chatting over a cuppa.

“For the Great Get Together weekend, we’ve incorporated some extra events into our programme, including Open Gardens at Blofield, Making Music Day at Aylsham, and a sing along and invitation to write a letter to an isolated person at Hunstanton.  We hope lots of people will come along and join – it’s a great way to connect with people and make new friends.”

The first Great Get Together took place last year.  It was the idea of the friends and family of murdered MP, Jo Cox, to mark the first anniversary of her death.  The event aims to bring friends, neighbours and communities together to celebrate everything they have in common.

Councillor Dewsbury added: “Loneliness is a major national issue and we know that it affects people of all ages.

“We are leading the way with our In Good Company campaign and recently announced £2.4m funding to tackle loneliness in the county.  Over the next three years we’ll be working with partner organisations to develop new and innovative ways of improving the health and wellbeing of people affected by loneliness and social isolation in our communities.

“It’s great to see our libraries taking part in the Great Get Together again this year and offering such a varied range of events and activities to help to ensure that no one needs to spend a lonely day in Norfolk if they don’t want to.”

For more information about how you can get involved with In Good Company, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/ingoodcompany

For events and activities in Norfolk County Council’s libraries visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/libraries

For more information about the Great Get Together visit www.greatgettogether.org


 

Danceathon for Sprowston’s brave Sophie

More than 200 people have taken part in a danceathon to help a brave little Sprowston girl who is fighting cancer.

Dance teacher Carly Fryman, who owns Dynamic Dance in Sprowston, organised the event to raise cash for four-year-old Sophie Taylor, who has recently undergone surgery on her leg after being diagnosed with bone cancer.

During the fund-raiser, held in Spixworth Village Hall, dancers received a Facetime call from Sophie, who was in hospital recovering from her operation, and she was able to watch some of the action.

“We managed to raise over £1,500. It was a lovely, family atmosphere. A lot of the girls I teach go to school with Sophie. We played different types of music, including a lot of Little Mix, who are Sophie’s favourites,” said Carly.

Of the 200-plus dancers, 20 had lasted the whole 12 hours, she added. Dance school members collected sponsorship while others paid £5 to take part in the danceathon.

Sophie has an older sister, seven-year-old Evie, and a three-month-old baby brother, Connor. Mum and dad Kirsty and Alex have launched a Super Strong Sophie Facebook page to chart their cheeky little girl’s courageous battle.

They are inviting everyone to show their support by “Taking a Sophie” – posting photos of themselves sticking out their tongues to cancer.

  • Anyone who wants to donate money to help Sophie can do so at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/superstrongsophie Any money not needed for Sophie’s journey will be donated to a charity for the research, treatment and support of those affected by bone cancers (osteosarcomas) and children’s cancer. #takeasophie photos can be posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter along with the hashtag #takeasophie and #standuptocancer

 

 

 

 

 

‘Learning to live again’ Tiff Youngs exclusive

Claire Mutimer and Suzy Coulson, of The Backstory podcast, with an exclusive interview with Tiffany Youngs, wife of international rugby star Tom, about her cancer diagnosis, treatment, terminal prognosis, shock remission and the impact it has had on her four-year-old daughter and family.

At the age of 28, Tiff Youngs appeared to have an amazing life – recently married to Tom Youngs, the England, Lions and Leicester Tigers rugby player, with a new baby girl Maisie and a lovely family home in Leicester.

However this was all about to be turned on its head when she found out in 2014 that she was suffering from Hodgkin Lymphoma.

The latest Backstory podcast, which went live today (May 22), tells the remarkable story of how Tiff dealt with three years of ill health and numerous different treatments, including a stem cell transplant, only to be told the devastating news in May 2017 that her cancer was terminal.

Tiff said she told her daughter: “I said you know mummy hasn’t been very well, unfortunately mummy has got to go to heaven….and she was like ‘Oh OK so I never see mummy again’.” She was, at one point, given between four weeks and a year to live.

In the interview, Tiff talks to Claire about her health and emotions, and the extraordinary turnaround which sees her now in remission from the disease. This conversation with her daughter was quite different. “I said you know mummy was ill and lost all her hair, mummy’s all better now and so mummy isn’t going to heaven any more….and you suddenly just saw a different person in her…just a spring in her step,” she said.

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that affects the development of lymophocytes (a type of white blood cell) in the blood, bone marrow and lymph glands. It affects the immune system and is often first diagnosed on finding swollen lymph nodes in your armpits or groin. Around 12,000 people are diagnosed with a type of lymphoma every year. Hodgkin Lymphoma refers to the specific lymphocytes which are affected.

Tiffany’s husband Tom plays for Leicester Tigers Rugby Club, is the current club captain and has received 28 England caps, as well as Lions success. Younger brother Ben also plays for Leicester and England. Ben opted to miss the 2017 British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand following Tiff’s terminal prognosis in order to support Tiff and Tom. The brothers grew up in Aylsham. Youngs Park in the town is named after the family after they donated land for the park.

Tiff’s backstory podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Acast and other podcast directories.  Find out more at thebackstorypodcast.co.uk or follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you would like more information then you can get in touch with Claire and Suzy on hello@thebackstorypodcast.co.uk or by calling 07990 582683/07595 335855.

Tiffany with husband Tom and daughter Maisie

Picture: Claire Mutimer

Search for children to star in Miss Saigon

Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss Saigon is looking for boys or girls to play the role of Tam when the show heads to Norwich Theatre Royal from August 15 to September 15.

The character is small, cute, confident and South-East Asian looking. He is not younger than four and not older than six, and children must live within a commutable distance of Norwich.

Anyone who wants further information or to apply should email Joanne Hawes on joanne.hawes2013@gmail.com including a small head and shoulders photograph.

Set during the last days of the Vietnam War, Miss Saigon tells the story of 17-year-old Kim who is forced to work in a Saigon bar run by a notorious character known as The Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American GI called Chris but they are torn apart by the fall of the city.

For the next three years, Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris. Tam is Kim’s son.

This new production of Miss Saigon opened in London in May 2014 to record-breaking advance sales and critical acclaim. The show swept the board at the 2015 Whatsonstage.com awards winning a record-breaking nine awards including Best West End Show and Best Revival of a Musical and gained the most awards ever won by a single show in the 15-year history of the awards.

Since its London premiere in 1989, Miss Saigon has become one of the most successful musicals in history. It has now been performed in 28 countries, over 300 cities in 15 different languages, has won over 40 awards including three Olivier Awards, three Tony Awards, and four Drama Desk Awards, and been seen by over 35 million people worldwide.

Miss Saigon, runs August 15 to September 15 at 7.30pm, and Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm. There are no Sunday performances. Tickets are £8-£60, with discounts and special performances avialable.

Book now at www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000.

‘Join us to protect Sprowston’s heritage’

Sprowston residents worried about the amount of new development in their parish are being urged to join a club set up to serve and protect the community.

The non-political Sprowstonite Community Club was formed with those aims 22 years ago but has lain dormant for many years.

Moves to reinvigorate the club follow fears about the long-term future of the popular Sprowston Sports and Social Club (SSSC) on Blue Boar Lane.

The site, on land owned by the Gurney family, is slowly being encircled by bulldozers as hundreds of new homes are built, according to Terry Toomer, who has been associated with SSSC for 30 years and is also one of the Sprowstonite club’s founding members.

Negotiations are under way with the Gurney Estate to renew SSSC’s lease.

But Terry and other SSSC chiefs are worried that the site, which has been used by the community for about 100 years, is vulnerable and could be sold off.

He would like fellow residents to join the Sprowstonite club to demonstrate the amount of local support there is for the SSSC and for protecting Sprowston from too much development.

The SSSC, run by volunteers as a non-profit making organisation, has between 600-800 members and is used by residents of all ages every week, for a large range of sports activities, plus parties, wedding receptions, christening celebrations, and wakes.

Football and cricket teams have been playing on the land, known as Harrison’s Meadow, for about a century, according to Terry.

During his time in Sprowston, Terry, a former SSSC chairman, has seen the club blossom from what he described as “a wooden building like a Scout hut” to a multi-purpose asset for the community.

Three extensions have been added, plus a toilet block, upgraded dressing rooms, a sports court, and bowls lawn. About 95pc of the work was carried out by volunteers and funded by the club.

“Sprowston is quite a special place to be and the people who live here need protection. Because of the development taking place round Sprowston, the fear is the club site would be used for houses and Sprowston would lose 100 years of history. This is our heritage and I hope that thought will spur people on to get together to support it,” said Terry.

“My dream is that Sprowston Town Council or Broadland District Council buys the site for the community. It would be a wonderful gesture by the Gurneys if they would let that happen.”

  • Anyone interested in finding out more can contact the Sprowstonite Community Club on 07510 1490 22.

Sprowston Sports and Social Club

Sprowston Sports and Social Club’s outside facilities include a full-size football pitch, two mini-soccer pitches, a sports court and bowling green.

Through the week the club is used for short-mat bowls, pilates, soccer tots, yoga, football, darts and pool, as well as a variety of private celebrations and other functions.

Over the years the club has raised many thousands of pounds for good causes.

What the councils say

Terry Toomer and Richard Shorten, another former chairman of Sprowston Sports and Social Club, have asked Sprowston Town Council and Broadland District Council whether they would consider buying the site to safeguard its future for the community.

Sprowston Town Council told Just Sprowston Terry had been asked by the council to find out whether the premises were for sale and, if so, to give the landlord the council’s contact details.

“Mr Toomer has not been back to this office to advise of the outcome of this conversation,” said town clerk June Hunt.

“The council felt it would be ill advised to ask the question of the landlord with a tenant already in situ at the club.

“The town council has requested Broadland District Council to place this property on the Community Asset List for Sprowston but this request has been refused.”

Just Sprowston asked Broadland to explain why it had been refused. A spokesman said: “The nomination for listing was refused on November 22 2016. The reasons for refusal were: The Gurney Family Trust had owned the property for many years and had a commitment to make it available on long leases for sports and leisure use.

“The club lease was secured under the 1954 Landlord and Tenant Act so the club had an entitlement to remain in occupation for the foreseeable future, subject to the lease terms being adhered to.

The present lease was due for renewal and the club had been offered a new 10-year lease.

“We appreciate that circumstances may have changed since the time the decision was made and it is open to Sprowston Town Council to resubmit a nomination.”

JOIN US: Sprowstonite Community Club founder members pictured in 1996. From left: Beverley Stebbings, Nigel Stebbings, Terry Toomer, Terry Haigh and Sharon Poynter


FOOTBALL: a Sprowston team pictured in 1920. Back, from left: Captain Raper, Charlie Wegg, Stanley Fowler, Walter Shorten, Bob Guymer, Berto Blyth. Middle: Lenny Shorten, Arthur Carter, Geoff Key. Front: Robbie Young, Teddy Dawson, Bob Pointer, George Duffield, Jimmy Carter

CRICKET: a Sprowston cricket team in 1922. Back, from left: Cecil Clabburn, Arthur Humphrey, AR Humphrey, Berto Blyth. Middle: Donny Wright, Eddie Dawson, Stanley Pointer, unknown. Front: Jack Carter, Arthur Wegg, Walter Shorten, Stanley Medler

CONCERN: Terry Toomer

 

 

 


 

EVER NEARER: distant building work can be seen in this view across part of Sprowston Sports and Social Club’s bowling lawn and football pitch

 

Her Business Brew, a busy year so far

Women’s networking and support group Her Business Brew had a successful inaugural conference to mark International Women’s Day as part of a year of events.

Held at Epic Studios in Norwich, the Her Conference attracted women from all backgrounds, especially businesswomen and those interested in finding out more about networking or starting their own business.

Organiser Serena Fordham, who is behind Her Business Brew, said: “The HER Conference 2018 aimed to bring together women from different groups, businesses, backgrounds and locations across Norfolk and surrounding areas, and I feel we wholeheartedly achieved this.”

“The day showcased inspiring speakers, connected female entrepreneurs, provided educational and empowering masterclasses, as well as raised awareness and funds for women-focused charities.”

Her Business Brew members voted for Leeway as the charity of the year, and an optional donation can be made at each meeting, which are held monthly in four locations in north, south, east and central Norfolk.

Leeway has six safe houses and provides advice, support and information to any adult or child experiencing domestic abuse in Norfolk and Waveney. It was established in 1974 with the help of a £200 start-up grant from Norwich City Council. Over the past four decades, the charity has grown considerably.

Mandy Proctor, Chief Executive of Leeway, said: “We are delighted to be chosen as Her Business Brew’s charity of the year. I would like to thank them for supporting Leeway and showing a commitment to ending domestic abuse. The money that they raise will enable us to continue to provide a high-quality service to those experiencing domestic abuse and help Leeway to continue to raise awareness of domestic abuse within the local community.”

Serena added: “I am proud that myself and the Her Business Brew Team brought everything together to celebrate International Women’s Day with so many incredible local women. The event, which was sponsored by Trusted Law and East of England Co-op, was also in memory of my friend, Sarah Ellis, who left this world too early last year, and my main emotion when I opened the event to see so many faces smiling back at me, was sheer fulfilment of feeling Sarah’s legacy would live on through this event each year.”

Speakers at the conference included Mumbelievable blogger Ursula Taverner, Britannia café founder Davina Turner and Rachel Welch, who has been involved in a project helping Ugandan women with sanitary wear.

This year has also seen the launch of For HER, a new women’s Business, Body and Life Online Chat Show.

Serena said: “For HER is an online group focused around issues affecting women, in business, body and life, and is the home of the bi-weekly online chat show, where women discuss their viewpoints and opinions on women-related topics.”

“The group and chat show intend to raise and expose an array of issues affecting women in all aspects of their life, as well as to raise awareness of charities and social enterprise projects that can help and support women.”

“The idea of the For HER community is to keep the conversations from the chat show going, so that if women are struggling to keep going right now, they have the assurance that they are not alone.”

She has now also launched the For HER Revolution, a members’ subscription package, which offers lots of benefits to any women, on all aspects of business, body and life.

She said: “This project will help to fund the charitable projects, and hopefully later be able to provide grants to women entrepreneurs and social enterprises that aim to also help other women.”

A Her Fitness Fundraiser will be held on Saturday, May 19, 10am-3.30pm to raise more funds for Leeway, to help them to carry on supporting women and children experiencing domestic abuse.

For more information email Serena and the Her Business Brew Team via, love@herbusinessbrew.co.uk. You can also find Her Busienss Brew on Facebook or via its website www.herbusinessbrew.co.uk.  Also see www.for-her.co.uk.

PICTURES: SAM ROBBINS

 

Location, Location, Location looking for buyers

TV property experts Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer (pictured) are looking for homes in the Norwich area for a new season of Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location. The presenters will be helping people find their dream home this spring. Chain-free buyers struggling to find the right property are welcome to apply.  Programme chiefs will be talking to potential buyers over the next few weeks. A spokesman said: “Whether you’re upsizing or downsizing, buying your first property or hoping to find your ideal forever home, you could have two top property experts on your side. Whatever the budget and however tricky the search – we would love to hear from everyone! Phil and Kirstie may be just the helping hand you need! The online application form can be found via: www.shortaudition.com/Location-Location-Location

Sprowston duo’s brave charity parachute jump

Two Sprowston residents are among three members of the Heritage Will Writers team who will be braving a tandem skydive on April 14 to support Norfolk charity Nelson’s Journey.

The Sprowston duo – Hayleigh Thornhill (IT consultant) and Kyle McCallum (admin assistant) – will join call centre manager Alan Tooth at Beccles Airfield to jump from 13,000 feet and freefall at 120 mph before their parachutes open.

So far they have raised over £1,100 between them for Nelsons Journey which supports  children and young people who have experienced the death of someone close to them.

At the start of the year, Norwich-based Heritage Will Writers joined the NJ Twenty20 scheme – A commitment taken by 20 Norfolk businesses to raise a minimum of £1,000 each to help celebrate the 20th year of Nelson’s Journey.

Heritage Will Writers’ managing director, Kathy Long, said: “We are so proud of Hayleigh, Alan and Kyle for doing such a brave thing for Nelsons Journey. We are blessed to have individuals who are always looking for opportunities to fundraise for charities, and as a company we are keen to support this with an in-house charity team.

“I am lucky enough to have been shown around Nelsons Journey’s Smiles House recently and get a real understanding of the fantastic work that they do to support bereaved children. That is why we are committed to raise as much as we can for Nelsons Journey to help them celebrate their 20th birthday.”

Nelsons Journey funding and marketing manager Sophie Berry said: “Heritage Will Writers have really embraced the challenge to raise funds in our 20th year.  A skydive is not for the faint hearted and we hope that those taking part will remember the experience for years to come.”