06/09/17: Funding boost for Wayland tourism initiative

Breckland councillors have agreed to part-fund an ambitious project which could provide an economic, social and cultural boost to the Wayland area.

At their meeting yesterday (5 September), Breckland's Cabinet approved a grant worth £19,972 to help deliver the 'Wayland Community of Culture' project.

The £96k project, to be delivered by the Wayland Partnership over two years, aims to attract new visitors to the Wayland area, encourage them to stay longer, and increase how much they spend locally. This would be achieved through developing and promoting activities based on the area's heritage, food, environment and culture. Wayland comprises Watton and 13 surrounding parishes.

Breckland Council members supported the grant application as it aligns closely with the council's own objective to enable the district to grow and thrive. Cllr Paul Claussen, Breckland's Executive Member for Place, commented: "We are fully committed to supporting the regeneration of the district's market towns and surrounding areas through our upcoming Market Towns Initiative and the Wayland Partnership's proposals will complement this very well. I'm therefore delighted that we have been able to support this initiative."

As part of the Wayland Community of Culture initiative, the Wayland Partnership proposes a number of activities, including bringing together key local businesses with an interest in tourism and the local economy; setting up a new festival linked to food, heritage and culture; and organising another festival with a walking and cycling theme. The project would also support and promote existing initiatives, such as the Wayland Show, Wayland Festival, Watton Carnival, and the Christmas Market.

Richard Otterway, Development Manager for the Wayland Partnership, explained: "We held a consultation last year as part of a wider plan to improve the area and tourism was identified as a key area to develop. Once all funding is in place, our next step will be to set up a Steering Group to oversee the project. We are keen to include local businesses and organisations on the group as their local knowledge and experience will be key to the success of the venture."

Cllrs Claire Bowes, Keith Gilbert and Michael Wassell, Breckland Council ward members for Watton ward added: "Wayland is a beautiful area with a rich cultural heritage and we're pleased that this project aims to highlight these inherent assets to the benefit of the whole community."

Today's announcement brings the Wayland Partnership closer to its funding objective for the project, having already secured funding from a number of other organisations. However, the partnership is awaiting confirmation on other bids before the £96k scheme can commence.

For more information about grants from Breckland Council, contact the Norfolk Community Foundation who administer the funds on Breckland's behalf - tel 01603 623958, email grants@norfolkfoundation.com or visit www.norfolkfoundation.com/funds/breckland-council-community-funding