Thousands of pounds to boost Norwich groups

Kim BriscoeOne of Norwich's biggest cultural events and people in desperate need of debt advice are among those set to benefit from thousands of pounds of funding.Kim Briscoe

One of Norwich's biggest cultural events and people in desperate need of debt advice are among those set to benefit from thousands of pounds of funding.

Bosses at Norwich City Council are to be asked to approve a range of grants to charities and organisations for their work in the city.

They include the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, which is being recommended to receive more than �140,000 each year for the next three years to help it stage the popular event and which is seen as a core part of the city council's bid for the title of UK City of Culture in 2013.

Jonathan Holloway, artistic director and chief executive of the festival, said this year's line-up of acts and performances promises to be 'easily the best yet'.

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He said: 'This funding is absolutely vital and the city council has given that level of funding, as has the county council, for the past few years.

'It is what has allowed the festival to grow to be the fourth biggest festival of its kind in the country, working with 180,000 people a year.

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'The way the council treats culture and the arts is why the city has been shortlisted for the first UK City of Culture.'

The Norwich and West Norfolk Citizens' Advice Bureau is being recommended to get more than �56,000 each year for the next three years, and a one-off payment of �43,000 in recognition of its increased caseload.

The bureau has seen a sharp increase in debt enquiries during the recession.

Steve Wiseman, chief executive, said: 'These are difficult times and it has led to a big increase in calls to our services, many of which are form Norwich residents and many of them having debt problems or welfare and benefits problems.

'I know debt problems in particular are the reasons for the one-off payment.

'This funding would be most welcome and will help to pay for a dedicated officer taking referrals from the city council.'

The Central Norwich Residents' Forum applied for �3,000 to produce a quarterly newsletter and to hold monthly meetings, but it is being recommended to be deferred until more information is provided to the council.

Another application by Gurdwara Shri Guru Ramdas Prakash has also been deferred, pending more information. The Sikh community of Norfolk and Norwich are asking for help to open a temple which would aim to bring the community together and 'give other cultures the opportunity to get involved in and understand' the Sikh religion better.

The grants are due for approval by the council's executive at a meeting at 5.30pm on Wednesday, March 10, at City Hall.

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email

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