People working in the Mile Cross area of Norwich have been invited to share their views on workplace wellbeing.

Academics at the University of East Anglia (UEA) would like to hear from people in the area as part of the Good Jobs Project, which is funded by Norwich City Council, via the Norwich Good Economy Commission.

Launched last year, the project encourages employees and employers in retail, hospitality, care and tourism to share their experiences on workplace wellbeing and productivity – with an aim of creating ‘better jobs’ across the region.

A free Open Space event will be held at the Phoenix Centre in Mile Cross from 1-4pm on Monday, November 1 – and it is open to “anyone who has an interest in what work is like in Mile Cross”, said project lead Dr Helen Fitzhugh.

“That includes employers, workers, charity volunteers, local authorities, and people who are trade union or green activists, for instance,” Helen added.

Everyone who attends the event will be given an equal voice – with all views helping to shape UEA research and informing the topics of free skills workshops to be held in Mile Cross in December.

Eastern Daily Press: The Open Space event will be held at the Phoenix Centre on Mile Cross RoadThe Open Space event will be held at the Phoenix Centre on Mile Cross Road (Image: copyright: Archant 2013)
“If you want to talk about something that’s important to you, the Open Space is a place to go and have your views listened to,” said Helen.

“The session is designed to be fun and friendly, but if there are people who want to learn particular things – for instance, the basics of how to be a good supervisor – they can influence what is covered in the free workshops in December and come along to them too.”

Helen and her team are also looking to conduct one-to-one interviews with frontline retail, hospitality, care and charity workers over the next month. Anyone happy to be interviewed will be given a £20 Love2shop voucher as a thank you for taking part.

More than 60 people have already been interviewed as part of the Good Jobs Project – initially in Norwich, and more recently in King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth.

“We were asking if anything is different in Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn – and in rural areas as opposed to cities – with regards to workplace wellbeing,” Helen explained.

“There’s a recruitment and retention crisis currently, especially in hospitality and retail, and that’s something employers were struggling with,” she added. “The idea that if they’re in a more rural area, employees will have to pay petrol to get out to them, so they’re taking jobs closer to home.”

Eastern Daily Press: Dr Helen Fitzhugh is leading UEA's Good Jobs ProjectDr Helen Fitzhugh is leading UEA's Good Jobs Project (Image: Stuart Charlesworth)
Such barriers are making it harder for employers to implement the ‘four boosts for frontline work’, which the Good Jobs Project identified from its initial research. They were summarised as ‘let me connect’, ‘care about me and my life’, ‘have my back’ and ‘make me part of the conversation’.

“There were all sorts of barriers to implementing some of these four boosts now,” said Helen. “But it was interesting to note that for the same sector where someone throws up that barrier, there is someone else in that sector doing all of these things already.

“For instance, there are people who are providing transport home after hospitality shifts in rural areas, so that they can get decent staff. There are people who have seasonal workers and young workers who gone on to leave, but they're still investing in their training – and in the time getting to know them – because they feel it gives a better service to the customer.

“It's just about finding a creative and inventive way to do it that suits your organisation and the people within it.”

The Mile Cross Open Space event will take place on Monday, November 1, from 1-4pm. The venue address is Phoenix Centre, 132A Mile Cross Rd, Upper Hellesdon, Norwich, NR3 2LD.

To find out more or sign up, visit If you have any questions, please contact Dr Ritchie Woodard at