Mile Cross gets thumbs-up

A community in north Norwich has been praised for its work involving teenagers and the enthusiasm and determination residents have shown in encouraging so many initiatives.

Mile Cross was declared the runner-up in the largest community category in the long-running annual competition Pride in Norfolk Community Awards, run by our sister paper, the EDP.

The area has often been the recipient of bad press on account of anti-social behaviour and crime in the district, but new Mile Cross city councillor Viv Thomas said it was 'a great community'.

She said: 'I'm thrilled for the people of Mile Cross. I think it's a great community and there's a lot going on in the neighbourhood.'

The area is also home to the popular Mile Cross Community Festival.

At the official prize-giving at County Hall on Thursday, Susan Warr, chairman of the judging panel, said that, while Mile Cross might be seen as a 'sprawling northern suburb of Norwich without an obvious heart to it', fellow judges had been 'surprised and impressed' by the range of activities and opportunities on offer to all ages.

She said: 'The overwhelming feeling that emanates from both the Norman and Phoenix centres and residents that we spoke to is great enthusiasm and pride of ownership of the community and the area.'

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Mrs Warr, who is a former chairman of Norfolk Women's Institutes, said the Norman Centre provided a focus for so many people, and had an action health shop, a job centre, housing office, education classes, cafe and sporting opportunities.

The judges also praised the Phoenix Centre, which was originally set up for disaffected teenagers, but now provides craft activities, sport and education classes for children of all ages.

Residents attending the Phoenix Centre yesterday agreed community spirit was alive in Mile Cross.

John Horstead, from Kirkpatrick Road, said: 'There's a good community spirit here and a lot of good things going on.

'It's also good that all age groups seem to be catered for.'

Peter Lemmon, one of the trustees of the Mile Cross Children's Phoenix project, said: 'The centre's here for the community and it's good that it's used and supported by the community. It's run by local people who all have pride in their area.'

Mark Haddow, Inspector for Mile Cross, Catton and Fiddlewood Safer Neighbourhood Team, said they had worked very hard to engage with local communities and interact with young people.

He said: 'The new URBAN youth club in Mile Cross Road has greatly contributed to this as it prevents local youngsters from hanging around on the streets and gives them the opportunity to interact in a positive way and learn new skills.

'We are always engaging with local residents through different means such as Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel (SNAP) meetings.'