BARCLAYS BANKING HALL
Any visitor to Barclays Bank on Market Hill will know that the banking hall inside the branch is relatively large for a small market town branch.
None of the other banks in town has a space quite like it.
I recently popped in to Barclays to hear about plans to make better use of this area. The bank is encouraging local businesses to set up ‘pop-up’ shops to give local shoppers a taste of their wares. The banking hall has also seen book and cake sales for charity.
This is a great idea and I am looking at making use of the space myself to run an advice bureau for people in South Norfolk.
SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY
The UK held its first ever Small Business Saturday recently. Originally an American idea, ‘Small Business Saturday’ aims to highlight the smaller retailers on our high streets.
That this took place during the busiest shopping weekend of the year is surely no coincidence.
I took to the streets of Harleston with Robin Twigge, regional chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses. Our market towns are wonderful places with some marvellous shops. Diss, Harleston and Loddon each have their own unique charm that out-of-town developments cannot match.
I hope ‘Small Business Saturday’ takes off and quickly becomes an annual fixture.
There’s a great deal we can all do to support small businesses but we all need to remember that it really is a case of ‘use them or lose them’.
Many people in Whitehall wrongly think that the countryside is all leafy, well-heeled villages. This misconception has damaging consequences for our rural schools.
The funding which our schools receive for special educational needs is based partly upon levels of deprivation affecting children.
But the way this is measured is skewed towards urban areas such as Great Yarmouth, Norwich and King’s Lynn whilst overlooking the needs of families in rural market towns and villages.
Autistic Spectrum Disorders don’t care about postcodes and children with autism or aspergers need support regardless of where they live. I have asked Norfolk County Council to investigate if other rural counties find the same urban bias affecting village schools and I will be talking to education ministers about this issue.
Finally, I’d like to wish the readers of Diss Express a very merry Christmas and every good wish for 2014.