Why Heartsease is now city's sought-after suburb

Plenty of community projects are taking place in Heartsease 

Plenty of community projects are taking place in Heartsease - Credit: Archant

A city estate blighted with the misconception of being a crime hotspot has shaken off the claim - saying it is an area with the community truly at its heart.

Heartsease was built on the former RAF Mousehold Heath aerodrome in the 1950s with the aim of having plenty of social housing.

And although the estate has seen drugs raids in the past, there are now droves of hard-working initiatives fostering a new sense of community. 

Marion Maxwell, 76, has been a city councillor representing Heartsease for 10 years. 

Lord Mayor of Norwich Marion Maxwell taking the editors seat at the Evening News. Photo : Steve Adam

Norwich city councillor Marion Maxwell - Credit: Steve Adams

She said: "It's a really lovely place with old build houses and a great history. To be honest I would buy a house there myself. 

"I live in the city centre but I have always wanted to move to Heartsease as there is a great community. 

"The church is amazing."

Located on Rider Haggard Road, the Church of St Francis has plenty on offer to support neighbours and is a central focus of the estate.

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Locals are encouraged to grow their own vegetables and fruit in the church's allotment every Wednesday from 9am to 11.30am.

The community allotments in the grounds of St Francis Church in Heartsease 

The community allotments in the grounds of St Francis Church in Heartsease - Credit: Ben Hardy

This is in partnership with community-owned farm Norwich Farmshare with leeks, chards, cabbage and broad beans among the vegetables currently on show. 

Father Tracy Williams said: "We are here for everybody. It does not matter what their faith or belief is.

"During lockdown we rang the bell three times a day as a reminder we are here to help everyone."

Father Tracy Williams inside the Heartsease St Francis Church

Father Tracy Williams inside the Heartsease St Francis Church - Credit: Ben Hardy

The church also runs a coffee morning every Friday and Saturday morning, as well as hosting a community money advice centre in the former doctors surgery next door.

Disabled people are also involved with renovating the church gardens as part of a project with the Assist Trust.

Church volunteer Michael Culwick, 72, said: "There used to be a community fridge here in 2018 which does not operate now but we still provide food for those who really need it - we're keen to keep that spirit going." 

Heartsease church volunteer Michael Culwick 

Heartsease church volunteer Michael Culwick - Credit: Ben Hardy

There have also been various projects run by Heartsease Healthy Living under the lead of Sam Moon from the city council communities team, to encourage active lifestyle in the estate.

Meanwhile, construction has also begun on a new £7m Soul Church for Heartsease Lane which will include a 1,200 seater auditorium, a nursery, a community café, as well as counselling and therapy rooms.

The groundbreaking ceremony of the new Soul Church community hub in Heartsease Lane

The groundbreaking ceremony of the new Soul Church community hub in Heartsease Lane - Credit: Soul Church

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