Join @NorfolkFDN – the Norfolk network for buyers and suppliers of local food and drink.

Local people with a passion for Norfolk’s food and drink have launched a new networking group for buyers and suppliers: the Norfolk Food & Drink Network (@NorfolkFDN on twitter). Now we want you – producers, processors, chefs, restaurateurs, wholesalers and retailers – to get involved.

This network brings together professionals from across the industry to share knowledge and ideas in a relaxed and friendly environment. There are no membership fees – just a small charge for some excellent canapés and a drink at each event – and there is no pressure to sell yourself or make introductions.

Instead, each quarterly event will feature guest speakers who will talk about lessons they have learnt – and mistakes they have made along the way to success.There will also be plenty of time for members to share their own stories, discuss industry issues and make valuable business contacts. The events will normally be at The Library Bar and Grill on Guildhall Hill in Norwich – but we are looking at other venues for special events.

A professional network – organised by professionals

The network has been set up by Emma Arthurton from Larking Gowen, Nicola Butterworth from Howes Percival, Jayne Raffles from Raffles Restaurants and representatives from the Norfolk Food & Drink Festival (Anna Stevenson, the festival’s co-ordinator, and me, in my role as one of this year’s festival champions). We have since been joined by my fellow #NFDF2014 champion Charlie Hodson and by Charlotte Cousens from Contract Personnel. If you want to get involved – please get in touch.

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We’re stronger together

The Food and Drink sector is a vital part of our local economy. Across the New Anglia LEP (NALEP) region, the Agri-food industry (‘plough to packet’) is worth around £4bn and employs some 15% of the workforce, many in highly skilled jobs requiring good STEM qualifications. Food and drink is also an important part of Norfolk’s tourism offer, accounting for 29% of tourist spending in the NALEP region (more than shopping at 27%). So anything we can do to strengthen local businesses is good for our community too.

BOOK to avoid disappointment

We have now held two events (in July and October) and both were a big success with great feedback on our member surveys – including 87% rating the events as very good or excellent. The next event will be on Monday 26 January 2015 at The Library Bar and Grill from 17:30-19:30. Follow @NorfolkFDN on twitter and look out for the booking info – be sure to invite a business contact too.

To keep up to date future events, please follow NFDN on facebook – and help spread the word by liking their page and sharing with your social media network.

Thank you

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Charity Fundraising

Here at Business Writers Limited we’re using our blogs to raise money for @NelsonsJourneyhere’s why.

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About this post

This is one in a series of #NFDF2014 tagged posts about the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival 2014 and related stories – I hope you enjoy them.

If you have any questions or comments, or ideas for future posts, please post them under this blog or tweet them to me. I will do my best to reply.

Thank you for reading,

Huw.

@HuwSayer / @Business_Write

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Join the #BuyLocalNorfolk movement and help support your community today.

Do you live and work in Norfolk? Would you like to see a more vibrant local economy, creating more jobs and greater opportunities to develop your own business? Then you are just the sort of person who should support the #BuyLocalNorfolk campaign whenever you shop, whether for home or business.

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The #BuyLocalNorfolk campaign is about supporting your local community – your friends and neighbours. It’s about creating a sustainable economy, which reduces the use of fossil fuels and the pollution associated with long haul transport. And it’s about creating a vibrant jobs market, so people both young and old can find jobs close to their friends and family.

The campaign is run by Buy Local Norfolk, which is a not-for-profit social enterprise. Buy Local Norfolk supports members by providing networking and marketing opportunities for local businesses, so strengthening connections within our community. It also encourages people to use the power of the pound in their pocket to support local, independent businesses on the high street.

You can make a real difference

Too many towns across the UK have become clone towns – all stocked with the same national chains, selling the same mass-produced goods. Worse still, many towns have become ghost-towns, with stores abandoning high streets in favour of large out-of-town shopping malls. Norfolk is different – and Norfolk is lucky.

Many of Norfolk’s towns still have thriving centres – with independent shops, specialising in locally produced goods and providing traditional personal service. This is great for local people because it gives them more choice. It is also important for the £2.8bn tourism industry, which employs some 750,000 people, because the diversity and individuality of Norfolk’s towns and villages attracts visitors.

You can help preserve our region’s distinctive identity by supporting these businesses. In doing so, you will help keep your community special, your local economy buoyant and more people in work. All you have to do is spend more of your money with local businesses. This doesn’t take a major change in your shopping habits – just small adjustments here and there can make all the difference.

You could start by using a local baker, butcher, farm shop or market – or looking for a local supplier of birthday cards, accountancy services, garden supplies, gifts, furniture and fittings. Why buy something bland from a national chain when you could buy something special from a local craftsperson? Obviously price comes into it but many local businesses go out of their way to compete on both price and service – all you have to do is ask them.

Businesses support businesses
Buy Local Norfolk holds regular, free-to-attend networking events around the county, which give your business an excellent opportunity to create valuable connections with new buyers and suppliers. This can make your business more resilient by shortening your supply chain and increasing your speed to market. It is also a chance to forge lasting friendships with business leaders who can support you with their experience, local knowledge and contacts.

Joining Buy Local Norfolk is simple – all you have to do is show you are a ‘truly local’ Norfolk business. This unique accreditation process is not onerous – it simply checks that your business is substantially owned and run by people who live in Norfolk and who already use five local suppliers. Membership costs just £5 a month and brings a whole load of benefits – including a full-colour listing in the directory, 5,000 copies of which are printed and distributed to businesses twice a year.

Buy Local Norfolk has also built strong links with some of Norfolk’s council procurement teams – including providing an electronic directory of members to Norwich City Council. Your membership also gets you a free listing (including your logo, company description, contact details, location map, and link to your website) on the Buy Local Norfolk website – which gets some 14,000 views a month from people looking for local businesses who can meet their specific needs.

Buy Local Norfolk believes that, as a community, we are stronger together. The organisation already has the support of over 120 businesses, local Councillors, MPs and MEPs. And the Buy Local Norfolk brand is increasingly recognised by Norfolk residents, including over 7,000 twitter followers. Now it’s your turn to get involved and do your bit to build a brighter future for your business, while supporting your community and making Norfolk an even better place to live, work and play. Join here today.

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Keep in touch

If you have any questions or comments, or ideas for future posts, please feel free to post them under this blog or tweet them to me. I will do my best to reply. In future blogs I will talk more about the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival 2014 (see my earlier post about being an #NFDF2014 Champion) – and other food and drink events around the county – I hope you enjoy them.

Thank you for reading.

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#Norwich please vote for @NorwichHEART’s #SHAPING24 cultural education programme in @europanostra Awards. Please RT.

The following is based (almost verbatim) on a press release from @NorwichHeart – it’s fairly self-explanatory – please read, vote and RT because it will help encourage people to #VisitNorwich and so support jobs and businesses in our vitally important tourism sector.

Norwich HEART’s #SHAPING24 project has just won a prestigious European Award, and we would love you to help us win the Public Choice Award too.

The SHAPING 24 cultural heritage tourism initiative recently won a prestigious EU prize for its work in education and awareness-raising. The pioneering project links the iconic ‘Norwich 12’ buildings with 12 heritage sites in Ghent, Belgium, and was led by the Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) in conjunction with Ghent City Council.

The European Commission and Europa Nostra have already named SHAPING 24 as a winner of the 2014 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards. The project was selected from 160 nominated projects across 30 countries, and was a winner in the Education, Training and Awareness-Raising category.

Now @NorwichHeart needs your help to win another important prize. At the awards ceremony on 5 May in Vienna, six of the earlier winners will be named as Grand Prix laureates, receiving €10,000 each, and one will be chosen in an online poll conducted by Europa Nostra to receive the Public Choice Award.

So please support your fine city – Norwich – and vote for the SHAPING 24 project at http://vote.europanostra.org before 20th April.

This successful project has made a positive contribution to economic development, regeneration, education and learning, community engagement, and promotion and access in Norwich and Ghent, with initiatives such as the Culture Matters international cultural heritage conference, smartphone apps, games, publications, educational projects and public art installations.

You can find out more here: www.shaping24.eu.

Remember – please vote and share on twitter, G+, facebook and any other social media platforms you use – because it will help support your local community.

Thank you

@HuwSayer