City housing estate's festival to end after 40 years

This year's annual Mile Cross Festival
For: Kimberley Briscoe

Live entertainment at the 2009 Mile Cross Festival in 2009. - Credit: Kimberley Briscoe

A free festival popular with families on an estate will end this year after 40 years because younger people do not want to help organising it, according to volunteers.

The annual Mile Cross Festival has brought together community groups and charities for decades and historically took place on Peterson Park.

But this year's event on Saturday September 11, at Sloughbottom Park off Valpy Avenue will be its last.

This year's annual Mile Cross Festival
For: Kimberley Briscoe

Crowds enjoying the 2009 Mile Cross Festival - Credit: Kimberley Briscoe

Chairperson Saffron King, 48, from Gresham Road on the estate, said the small team of volunteers was "physically and mentally tired" of organising the event and rising costs were a concern.

The senior support worker for St Martins charity said: "It is something that is very dear to me. We are sad it will be the last festival but we cannot do it anymore. The younger generation don't want to get involved in running it but want to attend it. 

"We are going to make it a more lively event this year."

This year's annual Mile Cross Festival
For: Kimberley Briscoe

Children enjoying the Mile Cross Festival in 2009. - Credit: Kimberley Briscoe

The festival will run from noon-4pm and will include live music and the Norwich Star Wars club.

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Mrs King said it was increasingly hard to find funds for it over the past few years as all the organising committee members had jobs, meaning it created extra pressure on their daily lives.

She added that a social media call-out for more volunteers to organise the festival this year did not attract many people. 

The volunteer said the costs had increased, including the hiring of Sloughbottom Park from Norwich City Council, toilet hire, insurance and security.

This year's annual Mile Cross Festival
For: Kimberley Briscoe

Families enjoying the 2009 Mile Cross Festival. - Credit: Kimberley Briscoe

Each year it brings together charities, organisations and groups from Mile Cross including the Norman Centre, as well as a walkabout from the Lord Mayor of Norwich.

"Mile Cross is a low income area and it is a great thing to get everyone involved," Mrs King added.

Headway Majorettes' trainer Elisa Cork with her team of performers ready to make their debut in the Mile Cross Festival.

Headway Majorettes' trainer Elisa Cork with her young team of performers ready to make their debut in the Mile Cross Community Festival in 1990. - Credit: Archant library

A council spokesperson said: “We were surprised and saddened to hear that this may be the final year of Mile Cross Festival, and would urge the organisers to get in touch with us to discuss potential options.”

The festival did not run last year because of coronavirus restrictions and organisers would follow any relevant Covid guidance for this September's event.

Mile Cross, pictured in the 1920s. Mile Cross was the first major housing estate built by Norwich Ci

Mile Cross estate homes pictured in the 1920s. - Credit: Norwich City Council

Search Mile Cross Festival on Facebook.


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