Thank you to the c. 500 people who attended the inaugural Norfolk Enterprise Festival on Saturday – as well as all of the MPs, councillors, businesses and sponsors that helped make it possible.

Although chilly and a little wet, the enthusiasm of all those who joined us to hear from a wide variety of inspiring speakers was incredible – as was the desire to see the event grow and develop next year, and in the years thereafter.

Norfolk is home to a thriving entrepreneurial community that, often, we don’t get to see or hear about. Hidden away in sheds, bedrooms, industrial estates and old farm buildings, so many small and medium sized businesses are quietly driving forward tremendous innovation.

If we want to grow a vibrant enterprise economy, we are going to have to back our own small businesses. The Festival is about creating a forum to DO that, rather than TALK about it.

I hope in five years we will be raising £1 million a year from Norfolk to invest in Norfolk start-ups. And our successful entrepreneurs will be helping budding young entrepreneurs to have a go.

London can’t do it for us. We need to do it. Our way. The Norfolk Way.




It is nearing the time for the Norfolk Enterprise Festival!

The aim of our festival is to enhance Norfolk’s enterprise activity and bring local entrepreneurs together. We have a fantastic array of business speakers, interactive workshops, entertainment, local food and drink, and much more!

However we have a limited amount of tickets! Therefore it is really important that if you are coming, you register here. If you register you will receive the opportunity to download our app which will list the attendees, speakers and the programme of the festival for your convenience. This will enable you to network with local entrepreneurs before the actual event.

For more information, please do visit our website here

We hope to see you at the festival, supporting Norfolk’s entrepreneurial spirit!



Over 80 rural landowners, housebuilders, local councillors and planning consultants joined Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman at Gressenhall Farm and Museum to hear more from experts in rural housing about the opportunities of building affordable homes in their communities.

The Rural Housing Summit was convened by The Norfolk Way (www.thenorfolkway.org.uk ) a non-for profit social enterprise founded by George Freeman MP to promote a vibrant rural economy in Mid Norfolk, in partnership with leading rural housing specialists Hastoe Group. (www.hastoe.com),

Rural communities across Norfolk are particularly hard-hit by a lack of affordable homes – a situation which has seen the average age in rural areas rise as young people are priced out, and services like schools, post offices, pubs and shops are forced to close. So the Summit aimed to reverse this trend by bringing together experts to discuss:

·        How a better approach to local housing can keep villages alive
·        How can Norfolk’s rural communities get the high quality homes they need?
·        What are the keys to delivering this vision?

George Freeman MP was joined by:

·        Sue Chalkley, Chief Executive at Hastoe Housing Group
·        Paul Pitcher, Wellington Construction of Lowestoft
·        Tim Horspole, Director of Planning at South Norfolk Council
·        Chris Parsons, Parsons + Whittley Architects

The Minister for Rural Affairs, Lord Gardiner also joined the panel to listen to the audience and the responses.

George Freeman MP said: “I was delighted to host a joint event between the Norfolk Way and Hastoe. It was great to have so many representatives from the local communities across Mid Norfolk and to have their great feedback with encouraging updates on best practice and importantly what can be done. Many supported the idea of a new Garden Village as part of a call for new models of growth. I look forward to working with all parties over the coming months to encourage positive grown whilst protecting our rural way of life.”

Hastoe Chief Executive Sue Chalkley said: “Hastoe are thrilled to have been involved in such a fantastic event, which helped to explore how we can work together to help solve the local housing crisis in Norfolk.

Watton Neighbourhood Plan

George Freeman MP said:
“The lack of a Neighbourhood Plan in Watton is making it far too easy for developers to build wherever they want, and often without the necessary infrastructure required to support new housing.

“That’s why I have been actively encouraging and supporting Watton Town Council, and its Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, as they look to develop a Plan for the development of the town over the next 20 years.

“I was delighted to speak at the Neighbourhood Plan Community Meeting this past Friday, answering questions from the audience and also offering support and advice to those with constructive ideas. Most pleasing of all was to see a diverse range of people present and it is vital that the town draws from all sections of the local community if it is to ensure that its Plan reflects the needs of residents – both now and in the future.

“I very much look forward to continuing to work with the town as it pursues its own Neighbourhood Plan.”


Rail update

Times have changed since the controversial Beeching closures back in the 1960s. For too long, we have seen investment in our commuter lines, but not enough into lines that open up our rural towns and villages to unlock growth.

Here in Mid Norfolk, I have long advocated the full reopening of the Wymondham to Dereham Railway line for regular commuter services and I remain firmly committed to working towards achieving this. It is vitally important if we are to ensure that the Wymondham – Dereham – Norwich Research Park triangle is to truly fulfil its vast potential in the coming decades.

On a wider note, I was delighted to see the East-West rail announcement in last week’s budget. I have campaigned extensively for this since becoming an MP back in 2010 and the prospect of an innovation express running from Norwich to Cambridge to Oxford to Reading to Southampton – linking up our east and west clusters – is something I relish.

As a new Victorian-model rail company (the first of its kind in 150 years!), it will undertake development to fund both new and improved rail infrastructure, benefitting both commuters, homeowners and businesses.

Norfolk Innovation Awards 2017


Here are all last year’s participants.  For details of now to enter this year, please click on Innovation Awards


Norfolk Way Update, October 2016

George Le Bon

George Le Bon of Scarning Primary School won an annual pass to Banham Zoo, for his outstanding work at KS2. This prize was kindly sponsored by the New Zoo project.


Jack Tovee and his fellow students Abi Moore and Alicia Marchi-Brown of Wymondham High Academy won the Best Nuffield Crest A Level project. They each received a £50 Amazon voucher, kindly donated by Lintott Control Systems of Norwich, to help them by some books as they headed off to university.

See link here to an article on Lintott Control Systems website

Twins Aaron and Lili Nicholson of Dereham Neatherd School won a farming experience at interactive farming / ag engineering day at Easton and Otley College.


Lois Mack of Flegg High School won the category for most Inspiring Secondary Teacher.   She was given £100 of Chapelfield Vouchers kindly sponsored by Aquaterra Energy.

Lois said:  “I am thrilled to have received this award, thank you to Aquaterra Energy for sponsoring the award.  Stem at Flegg has come a long way and as a department we are working hard to engage students in the opportunities that science and all of the stem subjects have to offer.”

Northrepps Primary School won the category “Best Primary School Science Project”. The class won a trip to the Green Britain Centre at Swaffham, which they will be taking next year.


The Head Teacher Angie Hamilton said:

Thank you so much for the prize. I was not expecting to win…. We are a very small school and don’t win many trophies so we are delighted with this.  We are now developing the work we do at The Mun not just across both our school but into pre-school and with parents.

Thank you for a really lovely evening.

Best regards,

Angie Hamilton

Jonathan Barber of Thurton Church of England Primary School won the category of Most Inspiring Junior School Teacher.


The prize was sponsored by the Wayland Partnership and their chairman, Jan Godfrey said:

We are delighted to be able to sponsor this award. Teaching is a challenging career and good teachers are worth more than gold. As a former teacher in a senior role at a secondary school, I know only too well how important it is for our children at every age to be taught by people who are passionate about teaching, about their subject and about life and who can inspire the children to have the same passion for life and learning and curiosity about the world in which they live.

Jan Godfrey

Other comments:


“As a Norfolk based engineering company that is passionate about encouraging young people from our County to challenge themselves and enter higher education to study STEM related subjects, we felt this significant award recognising the outstanding achievements of all those teachers who inspire children in this field, fitted perfectly with our philosophy and aims. Therefore we’ve been delighted to sponsor the award for “Most Inspiring Secondary / Sixth Form Science or STEM Teacher”, and we were thrilled at the amazingly strong set of nominations for the award from across the County, rightly acknowledging so many deserving teachers. Of course, there can only be one winner, and it was a real pleasure to see Lois Mack from Flegg High School collect the award at the presentation evening and we wish her, and all those worthy runners up more success in the years to come”.

Steve Way, Chartered FCIPD   Human Resources Manager, Aquaterra Energy Ltd

It was wonderful to be able to contribute to such occasions; promoting and rewarding the work for achievements in the education sector.

Best wishes,

Sally-Anne Hinkley

I thought the event was wonderful. A really good celebration of some special people.

Best wishes,

Nick King
Scarning VC Primary School

Dear Hilary,

Thank you again for organising the event, I know it must have taken a lot of time and effort on your part and on behalf of my colleagues and myself at Sprowston High School I would like to extend my thanks to yourself, George and Wymondham Academy for making it such an enjoyable evening.

Kind Regards,

Maria Sheldrick, Sprowston High


Thanks to everyone involved in the evening. It was a lovely event.


Ben Dewhurst

Wymondham College

Norfolk Innovation Awards

Over 150 students, parents, teachers and local businesses will come together at Wymondham High Academy to celebrate the second year of the Awards.

George Freeman MP says:

“This is an evening about the young, the future and a brighter tomorrow.

For too long, I believe Norfolk has been regarded as a rural backwater, in education and in particular the all-important STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.

I am delighted that through these awards supported by and in conjunction with some of the leading businesses and skill agencies in our area, we are celebrating the best and inspiring the rest by rewarding the best examples of science and innovation in schools and colleges.

Together, we will help build a network of Norfolk enterprise and innovation to help power the Norfolk Economy for the 21st Century”.

Norfolk_Innovation_Awards_Programme 2016

Winners and Nominees

Winners_Nominees_2016Main Event Sponsors





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Prize Sponsors








Fighting aggressive development in rural Norfolk

Fmattishall_planning_fullighting aggressive and inappropriate overdevelopment and promoting sustainable models of rural development has been a central mission of mine.

That’s why I was delighted that the voice of local residents, councillors and the action group Mattishall Matters have been heard and that the developers appeal for 90 homes in rural Mattishall has been dismissed by the Planning Inspector.

Having a Neighbourhood Plan in place is the best way to ensure that development is always in keeping with our area’s traditions and heritage and I will continue to support this process for our towns and villages.  To read more on this click here.


Tech Corridor Vision for A11

Having worked as a technology entrepreneur in our area before coming to Parliament, I have spent the last five years working with Ministers to make an ‘Innovation Corridor’ a reality, with upgraded transport links driving a new cycle of growth in the local economy.

With the dualling of the A11 and A47 secured, I believe we now have a once-in-a-generation chance to make the Eastern region the New California, a pioneering hub of cutting-edge technology businesses driving new jobs, opportunities and skills training across the region.

This report “The A11 Growth Corridor Feasibility Study” is another major step towards that vision.


2016 Farmhouse Breakfast

The Wayland Partnership warmly invite you to the 2016 Farmhouse Breakfast. A great opportunity to celebrate local distinctiveness – and the local food, farming and tourism sectors. It is also a great opportunity to meet new people and ‘sell’ what you do to other businesses in the area. Feel free to bring leaflets etc.WaylandBreakfast

Jan Godfrey MA MBE
The Wayland Partnership
Wayland House, Watton
Norfolk IP25 6AR
DD 01953 880202
Reg Charity 1081310

Norfolk Innovation Awards


Award Categories

  1. Outstanding contribution to Science/STEM subjects at Key Stage 2
  2. Outstanding contribution to Science/STEM subjects at Key Stage 3
  3. Outstanding contribution to Science/STEM subjects at Key Stage 4
  4. Most Innovative Junior School Science/STEM Project
  5. Most Inspiring Junior School Teacher
  6. Most Inspiring Secondary School STEM Teacher
  7. Best Nuffield Crest ‘A’ Level Project
  8. Best Idea for a Commercial Innovation

After the enormous success of the inaugural awards last year, and with winners from across all the Norfolk schools, I am thrilled and delighted to announce details for this year’s competition.

For too long, I believe Norfolk has been regarded as a rural backwater, in education and in particular the all-important STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.

If we are going to unlock the full potential of Norfolk’s young people and equip them to success in the increasingly competitive global economy, and to seize and benefit from the growing opportunities on their doorstep here in the Eastern Region, then we must do all we can to promote the spirit of innovation and enterprise in our area and encourage the next generation. I am delighted that through these awards supported by and in conjunction with some of the leading businesses and skill agencies in our area, we are celebrating the best and inspiring the rest by rewarding the best examples of science and innovation in schools and colleges.

Together, we will help build a network of Norfolk enterprise and innovation to help power the Norfolk Economy for the 21st Century.

Category details can be downloaded here.

Nomination form can be downloaded here and emailed for the attention of George Freeman, MP to innovationawards@wh-at.net

If you have any queries please do not hesitateto get in touch with Hilary Gauthier in my Wymondham office on 01953 600617.


About The Norfolk Way

The Norfolk Way is a not-for-profit campaign to raise aspiration and inspire entrepreneurial achievement in rural Norfolk. We do this in three ways:

  • Through the Norfolk Way Bursary Scheme which support students by providing mentoring and real projects and experiences in local businesses.
  • By building links between local schools and local businesses here in Norfolk through our flagship programme The Norfolk Way Innovation Awards.
  • By promoting the voice of business and the importance of a new vision of sustainable rural economic development with networking events and policy forums.

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Norfolk Way founder wins Award

George was thrilled to win the Grassroot Diplomat Business Driver award in Spring 2015.

Download pdf of article

Download pdf of article