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Students put MP in the hot seat

Norman Lamb is known for his strong beliefs on topics from Brexit to mental health. Work experience students Sophie Smith and Evie Cowling, from Aylsham High School, interviewed him to find out more.

 

Norman Lamb is not known to follow the crowd. The North Norfolk MP stands up for what he believes in and speaks out on those beliefs.

We chose to talk to him about some of the issues which affect young people today, including Brexit and the problems facing teenagers with mental health problems.

Norman campaigned to stay with the EU. He said: “Brexit is a dangerous time, a big mistake and now the government has no plan for how to reach an agreement with the EU.”

He believes Brexit will be hugely damaging to young people, as it could affect those who wanted to travel, work abroad or move to another part of Europe. “Brexit creates barriers,” he said.

Norman has been a massive advocate of improving provision for mental health, which is seen as a big issue within our generation.

He agreed it was an important priority but said care quite often fails young people and families, with services not understanding and treating complex conditions.

“It’s wrong that families and individuals can be left waiting for long periods of time to receive health care and in some cases being turned away if, for instance, with someone with an eating disorder, their body mass index is not low enough to be treated, in terms of having an eating disorder,” he said. And one step we should take, he believes, is to get the subject onto school curriculums. “We can then tackle mental health with young people so that they can understand causes and recognise signs.”

Knowing which career path to take is another big issue for teenagers as they choose school and college courses and universities and we wanted to find out what inspired Norman to become an MP.

He told us he had been interested in politics since a young age and when he was a teenager he got involved in an election and then worked for an MP after leaving university. He loved it but wanted to represent his own beliefs. Most importantly, Norman wanted “to fight for change and make an impact on the world” and he feels privileged that he is able to do what he is doing.

His advice to young women our age was to “reach beyond as there is no glass ceiling”. He added: “In your lives you will have many opportunities and you should learn to reach for the stars.”

One issue for young people is student university loans. Norman explained his party’s ambition had been to make student finances “fairer”. But he accepted that his party had made a big mistake in making a pledge and not sticking with it.

He explained that, in his opinion, the system was fair in that those who went into high-paying jobs paid more and those who were in low paid jobs would sometimes never get to the point where they had to pay.

“We changed the system to get students paying more but only if they went into higher paying jobs as a result of their degree.” Norman then explained: “I see no problem with people who go on to receive very high salaries paying the full whack for their degree.”  He stated that if you don’t earn sufficient income to pay back your university loans they will be written off. “I completely understand why people get worried and anxious about the size of the loan, but the loan does get written off if your salary throughout the year hasn’t been high enough to repay it.”

His toughest question came at the end of the Facetime interview. We asked: “If you reached the final of I’m A Celebrity, what would you have as your final three-course meal?”

So, if you are cooking for him anytime, Norman likes a starter of scallops or Norfolk crab, for main Indian or Thai food and for dessert strawberries and ice cream.

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Forage and glamp along North Norfolk coast

Fancy a nice meal or two, enhanced with a spot of foraging along the North Norfolk coast?

From June 15-17 and September 14-16, glamping company Margins has teamed up with chef and forager Simon Hunter Marsh (a local Norfolk Food Hero) and his partner Kate Anderson, to offer an opportunity for people to learn about and cook from nature’s bountiful pantry.

Gin Wilson-North, from Margins, said: “Everything will be set up ready to welcome you when you arrive in our fully-equipped safari style tents plus all meals are included, although you do have to find and forage most of the ingredients.”

Guests will walk from their camp at Stiffkey, foraging along the coastline and countryside in that area, learning what they can and can’t eat, what the health benefits are, how to prepare and cook foraged finds and ultimately sit down together to enjoy meals of local produce enhanced by foraged culinary delights, which will undoubtedly include samphire.

To find out more including cost and what is included go to www.walkandglamp.co.uk

 

 

Residents urged to be vigilant after spate of burglaries

Police in North Norfolk and Broadland are urging residents to be vigilant after a spate of burglaries across the area recently.

18 burglaries have been reported since 31 January 2018 with properties being targeted in Wells, Holt, Little Barningham, Morston, Little Snoring, Sheringham, Ludham, Stalham, Potter Heigham, Foulsham, Aylsham, Acle, Halvergate and Woodbastwick.

Chief Inspector Wes Hornigold said: “We are investigating a number of burglaries which have taken place across the districts during the past two months and I am appealing for anyone with information to contact police.

“In some of these cases the premises have been left insecure, therefore I would urge residents to take some time to review their home security and take some simple steps to prevent them from becoming victims of crime. Many thieves are opportunistic, so please ensure your doors and windows are locked at all times – and if you go out, leave a light or radio on to give the impression someone is home.

“Also, if you are going away for the night, please ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your property and consider using timers on lights.”

“If you see any suspicious activity in your area, please contact police on 101, paying particular attention to any unfamiliar vehicles and registration numbers; however; please call 999 if you believe a crime is in progress.”
Further home security advice includes:

• Remove window keys and keep them in a safe place. However, everyone should know where the keys are kept so they can escape in an emergency
• Fit five lever mortise deadlocks to all external doors to BS3621
• Fit multi-locking systems to patio doors or install mortise security bolts with removable keys at the top and bottom of both doors
• Considering fitting a letterbox cage or restrictor which prevents burglars from putting their hands or gadgets through the letter box and trying the latches from the inside.
• Never leave a spare key in a convenient hiding place such as under the doormat, burglars know all the usual hiding places
• Never leave your house or car keys in or near a door or window

How sister’s suicide ‘informed’ my work – Norman Lamb

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb was the latest person to be featured on The Backstory, a local podcast looking at the stories behind the news. He talked to Suzy Coulson about mental health and his own sister’s suicide in 2015.

Norman Lamb’s interest in mental health is well-known. “We all have mental health, we’re all on a continuum,” he explains.
As care minister in the coalition government he pushed for new standards in mental health care provision and has continued to keep mental health high on the agenda.

What’s less well-known is the personal experiences that have informed his work. “Informed but not formed”, as Norman explained to Suzy Coulson of The Backstory podcast.
The interest, it’s clear, was there already. Suzy was meeting Norman to find out more about what motivates his work and why he has chosen to be open about the mental health difficulties his own family have experienced.
“We’re all ultimately vulnerable, we’re fragile human beings and adversity can strike any of us at any moment,” he said.
Norman’s son, Archie, has suffered with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder since his teens. Now a successful music manager, having launched the career of grime artist Tinchy Stryder and collaborated with Jay Z, Archie has made a success of his life but there have been some dark times in which Norman and wife Mary found themselves negotiating the mental health system in a bid to get the right support for their son
“I remember the moment he said to me, ‘Dad why am I the only person going mad?’ For a parent to hear that, that’s quite hard.”
Then, in 2015, Norman’s sister Catherine killed herself after a period of severe depression.
He said: “Our family has gone through the trauma that very many families around our country experience with the loss of a loved one through suicide.”
Before any of this happened, Norman had already launched Zero Suicide Ambition, an initiative that strives to preotect every life.
“The evidence is there for how we can save lives but we’re not giving it enough priority. There’s nothing that’s more important than saving lives. The knock-on effect of a suicide is profound so it’s a really important objective.”

To hear the full interview with Norman Lamb, subscribe to The Backstory podcast with Claire Mutimer and Suzy Coulson on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Full details can be found at thebackstorypodcast.co.uk. If you’ve got a backstory to tell, an experience that has shaped your life in some way, then Claire and Suzy would love to hear from you. Email hello@thebackstorypodcast.co.uk or call 07595 335855.

Starbucks to open in Aylsham this weekend

The Aylsham Starbucks Drive Thru will be opening this Saturday, March 17.

To celebrate, the store will be handing vouchers for hot drinks to residents and businesses throughout the week. People will also be able to pick up vouchers on Saturday, when the team will be hosting a coffee tasting session. New for the spring menu are green tea lattes as well as the old favourites.

The store will be operated in partnership with Starbucks licensed partner, Euro Garages, and has meant 15 new part and full-time jobs for the town.

Mo Tayab, Starbucks brand manager at Euro Garages, said Starbucks had made a lot of investment in the site and was looking forward to meeting customers: “We are looking forward to welcoming them into our store,” he said.

He said there was a possibility the store would be able to take on more staff as it got busier and was planning fundraising for charity.

The store, on Burgh Road, will be open from 6am-8pm Monday to Friday, 7am-8pm Saturday and 8am-8pm Sunday. This Saturday, it will be open from 8am.

Exercise highlights issues for blind in North Walsham

The group of people making their way with caution through North Walsham might be have attracting plenty of attention from passers-by, but half of them had no idea.

They were taking part in an awareness exercise to highlight some of the problems the blind and partially-sighted have when navigating the town on a day-to-day basis.

It was organised by Guide Dogs East Anglia and involved local police officers, police cadets and two members of the community Scott Vallance with his guide dog German Shepherd Benji, and Paul Monaghan with Gizmo, the more usual Labrador. Pauline and Doug Parker were also in attendance with trainee puppy Duffy.

Helen Sismore, community engagement officer for Guide Dogs East Anglia, said: “Today we have been able to raise awareness regarding obstacles that people who are blind or partially sighted face on a daily basis. These can be A-Boards, vehicles parked on kerbs or tactile pavings, overhanging parked vehicles into the pavement space when parking, cyclists, and the impact of dog attacks on Guide Dogs.”

There are two million people registered with sight loss in the UK. This is set to double by 2050 and 180,000 people with sight loss rarely leave their homes because of the above hazards and the feeling of not being safe when out and about.

Helen said: “The exercise today helps to build awareness in the community and highlight what the issues are. With a little bit of foresight we can help to make our communities safer so they become inclusive to all especially people who are blind or partially sighted. Think about where you are parking, think about where you are placing your A-board. Does it make the pavement too narrow? If you are a dog owner does your dog lunge or bark at working dogs? Correct it or move away! As a cyclist respect the person you are cycling behind either dismount or tell them you are behind them. Simple steps make all the difference.”

PC Davison said: “I found it terrifying. When you can’t see the traffic seems so loud and so very close to you. I was completely dependent on the person who was guiding me around the town and had to trust them completely to describe hazards around me.”

Chief Insp Wes Hornigold said: “For me, it was great to be able to get involved with members of the blind community, having already been invited to talk at the North Walsham guide dog forum. I was amazed how difficult it was to simply navigate around the town and showed to me how important it is for our paths and walkways to be clear of obstructions.”

The 10 police cadets who took part were all members of the local group which meets on Thursday evenings during term time.

The group is open to youngsters aged 13-16 and sessions are held at the police station. An open evening is planned for Thursday, March 1, at 7.30pm for those interested in finding out more about the group and joining.

For more information email NNCadets@norfolk.pnn.police.uk.

Sheringham Youth Zone saved from closure

Sheringham Youth Zone has been saved by Youth Charity OPEN Youth Trust.

Following a plea for help, outreach manager Lara Nicole, from OPEN, met Julie Chalmers, founder and leader of Sheringham Youth Zone to see if OPEN could help keep the well-attended youth club running.

Julie said: “After four years of running the Youth Zone, it was a very difficult and sad decision to make but the time is right for me to hand over the club.  I am so pleased that the youth club will now be run by some really lovely people from OPEN, who have been volunteering already for a couple of months.  OPEN has the youngsters’ best interest at heart, which I always have had and I know they will also continue a good relationship with Sheringham Town Council.”

Julie continued to say: “I’d like to thank all those who made Sheringham Youth Zone possible and to the hundreds of youngsters that have made it all so worthwhile, I hope that somehow we made a difference to you all.”

Lara said: “OPEN’s focus is to make a positive difference to the lives of young people in Norfolk and we believe that Sheringham Youth Zone does just that. The youth club is a real asset to the local community and we are excited be given the opportunity to continue this for the young people of Sheringham.”

OPEN will be running the youth club with members of their staff but would love to hear from anyone who is interested in volunteering or working as a Youth Support Worker within the club.

Youngsters from Sheringham Youth Zone with Lara Nicole and Julie Chalmers.

Picture: OPEN Norwich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panto puts smile on face of theatre as well as audiences

Sellout panto shows at Sheringham have provided a bonus to the coffers of the town’s Little Theatre.

Nearly 8,000 people saw 43 shows of the Wizard of Oz over the festive period. Many performances were sold out and there was a waiting list for ticket cancellations.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “The panto has been a tremendous success. Takings were above budget – which is a huge help as panto and summer drama are the most commercially important seasons we have and support our other activities during the year.

“Audience feedback was that it was the best panto yet – with a brilliant script, lots of energy and magical elements such as the projection work, sets and puppets. We are sorry if people could not get tickets, but would encourage them to book early for the next panto,” she added.

The 2018 panto will be Beauty and the Beast running from December 7 to January 1 and using the same creative team as this year, headed by director Nick Earnshaw. Tickets will go on sale in March.

Now the Emerald City has disappeared from the stage, events at the venue in early 2018 range from amateur drama, an opera screening, and jazz, to magic, a romantic Valentine’s cinema supper club and a fun family show.

In March (1-3) there is also a three-day festival weekend of Ealing Comedy films (Lavender Hill Mob, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Passport to Pimlico, Man in the White Suit and Whisky Galore).

Other highlights include:

January 19-20 – Alan Ayckbourn’s Confusions by Stage Direct

January 21 – Rigoletto screening from the Royal Opera House

January 28 – Jazz from the Red Shadow Quartet

February 6 – Morgan and West Time Travelling Magicians.

February 10 – Bowjangles music inspired by Myths and Legends

February 14 – Love Story movie (Ryan O’Neil and Ali McGraw) with optional pre-booked supper

February 15 – Rhymes for Revolting Children, cheeky songs poems and comedy for the family

February 21-24 – Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit by CSODS

For more information and tickets visit www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com or call the box office on 01263 822347.

Fun from the successful Wizard of Oz panto at Sheringham Little Theatre.
Picture: Matt Coomber