A major campaign to celebrate everything good about West Norfolk could help create new jobs.
That’s the hope of North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, who has added his support to the Love West Norfolk campaign.
Sir Henry described it as a “fantastic initiative” to raise the area’s profile which in turn could attract more teachers and bring staff to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn and other businesses.
He said West Norfolk was a “great success story” and major strides had been made in promoting the area.
Sir Henry told those gathered at last Friday’s campaign launch that home-grown skills were important and stressed the need for the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to stay at its Bircham Newton base and not relocate to Peterborough.
Sir Henry said it would send out a strong community message if the firm, which employs around 600, remained.
“We want people to look at West Norfolk and say there are great people here. We have a fantastic environment and we want people to think not only would this be a great place to work it would be a great place to live,” said Sir Henry.
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss and comedian Stephen Fry have also backed the campaign.
Ms Truss, chief secretary to the treasury, said West Norfolk was a “fantastic place to live and work”.
“I do feel it is an unsung part of the country and that a lot of the fantastic places like the Custom House here in Lynn and gingerbread buildings in Downham Market are not known very widely.”
She said the area had “huge opportunities” to attract tourists and businesses.
Actor and writer Mr Fry, who has a home in the area and is a former student of the town’s College of West Anglia, said: “If Norfolk is the secret jewel of England, then West Norfolk is the secret jewel of Norfolk.”
At the launch, West Norfolk Council leader Brian Long said: “We have some lovely beaches, fantastic heritage. It is a beautiful place – so much more than the public know about. People come here and say ‘What a gem’.
“We really do need to push the West Norfolk brand.”
Mr Long also hopes the campaign will attract bigger businesses.
He said: “We have got to push our unique selling point. We know West Norfolk is a special place.”
Share your views
February 14 may be St Valentine’s Day, but it’s also been designated as Love West Norfolk day by organisers of the new campaign.
Key community leaders behind the initiative, aimed at building pride and aspiration in the area, want to hear your views about why West Norfolk is special.
People have been asked to share their pictures and stories on that day and help to publicise the campaign on social media.
Leaders involved in the initiative include officials from West Norfolk Council and chief executives from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, the College of West Anglia, Freebridge Community Housing, Community Action Norfolk, West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group and support from Norfolk County
Your Local Paper is also proud to be a Love West Norfolk partner.
Campaigners hope to get businesses involved by staging their own events and there are plans for promotions with schools to allow young people to have their say.
Community consultation events will also be held in Lynn, Downham Market and Hunstanton on dates to be confirmed soon.
The feedback and ideas generated will be collated and, at the end of March, will be used to determine the best ways of promoting the area both regionally and nationally.
Why do you love West Norfolk?
The beaches, seaside attractions, historical buildings and wide open spaces are just some of the reasons you love living in and visiting West Norfolk.
Your Local Paper reporter Adele Norris asked shoppers in King’s Lynn what attracted them to the area and here are some of their responses.
The campaign organisers would love you to get involved in the initiative. They want to hear your views and see your pictures.
Helena and Peter Bull, Lynn:
“We like the beaches on the coast right round to Cromer and Wells, we go walking a lot with the dog. We like the older part of King’s Lynn. We moved from North Wales 11 years ago so it is very different.
“We moved from Derby to North Wales and had 20 years there and then moved to Norfolk, it isn’t too hard work on your legs. It is drier weather. I don’t think we’ll be moving again.”
Dereck Osborn, on holiday in Hunstanton:
“It is lovely. My daughter moved here because it was cheaper than down south and she wanted to bring her family up in a nice place. I like all the attractions and the sea. You get the summer and the winter so you take the rough and the smooth.”
“I have always lived in Norfolk, in Outwell, Upwell, Sporle, Emneth.
“It was always quiet. I retired this year and I’m going to live on the Norfolk Broads.”
Thomas Moorley and his wife Rachel of Wisbech:
“I like the shopping. It is a pretty town, historical buildings. “We always go up the coast in the summer, I especially like the ports.”