Online debate will discuss how county can best emerge from challenge of lockdown

What's the best way forward for Norwich and Norfolk as we emerge from lockdown?

What's the best way forward for Norwich and Norfolk as we emerge from lockdown? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith and Tim Sweeting CEO of youth charity YMCA Norfolk explain how you can get involved in a live online forum being hosted on Friday, July 17 by editor, David Powles

This website has shared the reality of life under lockdown in our communities on a daily basis. Although we might all have felt the impacts a little differently, there is no doubt that the global pandemic was a national trauma. Many have lost loved ones. As the health impacts recede now, the economic impacts come to the fore. The result of lost school time or the social and emotional consequences of lockdown are as yet unclear.

It’s great that shops, cafes, workplaces, community centres and more are reopening having lain dormant since March. There has been unprecedented taxpayer support, with major announcements on jobs just recently by the Chancellor. We all want the recovery to succeed in Norfolk.

In the midst of such uncertainty and change for so many, we want to help people get a sense of hope, something to connect them to a brighter future beyond the present difficulties. Hope gives purpose and positivity for us all as individuals and for our community.

This hope needs to be built on the learning of this lockdown period, of what we have enjoyed and need to hold onto, as well as the traditions of the past that we want to blend into a new and different way of being ourselves, and being together as a community.

Some may have already found opportunities in this time, to remove some of the busyness of life and to focus on what is most important to them, like family. Others may have innovated to take advantage of economic opportunities they’ve seen or ways to improve their wellbeing with a different way of working.

Hope, opportunity, prosperity. Individually and collectively. We want the tragedy of these last months to be used for good as we learn from our experiences. Can we influence what this prosperity looks like? Not just by supporting our local businesses as they reopen, but by exploring our shared vision for the future of a strong and resilient community that is fair and inclusive for all?

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We invite you to be part of a wider conversation with us that explores what this next stage of life could look like for Norwich and Norfolk. We would love to hear from others about what the themes of hope, opportunity and prosperity look like for them as we emerge out of lockdown. We would like to get to the heart of our local story, and how our city and county might change and grow in every area of life, from the environment to employment, from leadership to localism.

The EDP have kindly agreed to host a webinar on this subject on Friday morning, hosted by editor David Powles. We will be joined by local leaders in the fields of education, business and social impact to look at the issues from different perspectives so we might all understand more. Our goal is to work together to make a practical difference. This team has done it before, in the ground-breaking Norwich for Jobs project which helped thousands of local youngsters into work, and we want to do more.

We would encourage readers to sign up for the webinar on the details below so that you can be part of the conversation about how we might move forward together

The webinar will be held at 11am on Friday, July 17 and can be accessed via or by emailing