Keep The Seeker growing

How you can help us thrive.

Greetings from The Seeker!

It's Shaun here with another weekly round up.

Yes, it is only October, but we're already looking ahead to 2024 and how we can keep The Seeker growing. 

We're funded by a grant until the end of this year, meaning that from January we'll need to raise enough funds independently to keep going. 

In our reader survey, 90% of you said you liked our values and wanted to support the quality of our journalism and our independence.

So, you want us to keep going, right?

But building the audience numbers and revenue we need to sustain what we are doing isn't going to happen overnight.

We cannot assume the right to exist - we have to earn it by keeping our promises to you and being as good as we can be.

As well as delivering quality independent public interest journalism there's plenty of other things we want to do - from using our industry know-how to help nurture the next generation of journalists, to reaching out into the communities we serve and giving you a voice to tell the stories that matter to you.

So if you'd like to join us on our mission to bring independent, in-depth and inclusive journalism to Norwich, here's how you can help .

🤝Partner with us: We’re looking to collaborate with local organisations or businesses who share our values and want to support local, independent journalism. Let's discuss sponsorship opportunities for 2024 and ways your organisation can reach our growing audience of readers. 

Email to find out more.

Buy us a coffee or several! And see what others are saying about us here.

📣spread the word: Get The Seeker delivered free to your inbox every Wednesday and Saturday morning by signing up here - and forward our newsletter to your friends and family.

The best bit? We're a registered non-profit meaning 100% of all our funding goes directly into paying for our journalism. 👌

So far this year we have:

  • Helped save the NHS Walk-In Centre on Rouen Road
  • Given young writers their first paid-for opportunity to publish their work
  • Covered untold stories on policing, local councils, and refugees.

💡We believe there is an urgent need for independent journalism in Norwich, free of clickbait and pop up ads, so please help us thrive in 2024.

Read more about us, our values, and mission here.

Ok, let's get going!

Road reversals

So it looks like the end of the road for the scheme to close Exchange Street to cars. But before you decide to drive down there on your way out of the city, the road will not be re-opening just yet.

On Tuesday Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, signalled that the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO), which was due to lapse on November 18, would not be renewed.

Meanwhile, a scheme to keep St Benedict's Street closed to traffic, apart from loading, will be made permanent.

The Exchange Street decision has reopened old wounds between county councillors and city councillors with City Hall leader Mike Stonard stating the decision showed a "staggering lack of ambition" for the city.

But pressure had been mounting for a U-turn amid warnings of traffic chaos and looming gridlock in the run up to Christmas

A report into the decision noted that two things appeared to have killed off the plan - too many drivers (97% according to one survey of 1000 vehicles this year) ignoring the closure and no more money left to deal with any ongoing safety concerns or enforcement.

Mr Plant said County Hall would continue to monitor the Exchange Street situation and consider any future schemes which might come forward.


News last week that HS2 to Manchester was being cancelled sparked hopes that the Western Link of the NDR was now back on.

Local delegates at the Tory Party conference were particularly excited to see the scheme featured on an infographic detailing all the road, bus and rails schemes set to benefit from the £36bn 'reinvestment' - however transport secretary Mark Harper has since said these were just 'examples'.

There was even a note of celebration in a Linkedin post from Norwich North MP Chloe Smith welcoming the 'good news' that the scheme was going ahead and congratulating her Broadland colleague Jerome Mayhew.

Keen to get something on the record The Seeker reached out to both MPs as well as the Department for Transport for an update - and things were eerily quiet.

Meanwhile, Norfolk County Council - whose Tory members will doubtless be keeping everything crossed that the news is more than a bit of electioneering smoke and mirrors - was also keen to keep wheels firmly on the ground. Even if the Outline Business Case is approved - the scheme still has to go through the planning process, one official told me.

Helping hand

A large scale 'cost of living event' to provide face-to-face support to anyone struggling to make ends meet is taking place at Castle Quarter this month.

Advice is on hand just outside Boots and TK Maxx from 28 different services ranging from support about bills, benefits, housing issues, money, and mental health.

Organised by Your Own Place, a social enterprise supporting people at risk of homelessness, the free October 19 event comes as figures show that 15% of people in East Anglia are facing food insecurity and three in 10 children in Norwich are living in poverty.

Emily Newman Your Own Place facilitator said: "The cost of living crisis is impacting so many, but we want people to know they are not alone."

Babies remembered

TimeNorfolk Service of Remembrance. Photo: Luke Bryant, Tile Media

A Norfolk couple have shared a moving account of their experiences of losing their child during pregnancy.

James and Louise Bensly discussed what they went through in a video for TimeNorfolk, a charity supporting those affected by baby loss, pregnancy loss and pregnancy choices.

The pair recalled the emotions they felt when they lost their daughter Ruby in the 41st week of pregnancy and the impact it had on them and their families when Louise fell pregnant again.

James, who is also a Conservative county councillor and Great Yarmouth borough councillor, said: “This awful experience is so much more common than you might imagine. TimeNorfolk our local charity helps all parents and wannabe families at this critical time before and after this life changing event. Stillborn babies are still born and it’s so vital that we shine a light on this taboo subject."

This week is Baby Loss Awareness Week and Sunday saw a special service of remembrance at Norwich Cathedral.

One in five pregnancies end in miscarriage and stillbirth occurs in 1 in 200 births, while 1 in 3 women will have a termination before they are 45 years old.

TimeNorfolk, which runs free face to face counselling services in King's Lynn, Norwich and Great Yarmouth received 339 requests for support from across Norfolk last year.

Civic Charter

UEA is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and among the milestones is the development of a new Civic Charter. 

Launched last week, the aim is to collaborate with local communities, businesses and organisations across Norfolk and Suffolk to find solutions to complex challenges that society faces. 

The first 10 organisations to sign up are Norfolk County Council, Norwich City Council, Norwich Research Park, CEFAS, Adnams, BT, Norwich City Football Club, Norwich University of the Arts, Norwich Cathedral and Norfolk Community Foundation. 

Dr Johanna Forster, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor for Civic, said the new charter was a an “opportunity to reconnect with our origins”.

Big Brother's back

A stage adaptation of George Orwell's 1984 is being performed at Sewell Barn Theatre. Photo: Sean Owen/Reflective Arts

Freedom of thought, the blurring of fact and fiction, the surveillance state, newspeak - George Orwell outlined them all in his book 1984 and they are modern themes that we are still grappling with.

Norwich's Sewell Barn Theatre are bringing them all to the stage in a production of the eponymous novel which starts Thursday and runs until October 21.

Orwell biographer DJ Taylor will also host an after show discussion this Friday too, one of two taking place during the run.

Call 0333 6663366 for tickets or book here

Out and About

🌻Discover practical tips on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle and save money at the family-friendly ECO Futures Fun Day on Saturday There's an upcycling challenge, too.

📝Learn to write and perform your own powerful speech with Dash Arts and teachers from the UEA and University of Birmingham. Session starts Saturday at 10.30am at 185 Drayton Road.
Email: to book.

🍎Bring a picnic and head to the Bluebell South Allotments open day in The Avenues on Sunday. The event starts at noon and features apple pressing, jam and cake stall, music and a tour of the gardens. Just turn up (NR4 7DP).

Thank you for supporting The Seeker - see you on Saturday!