Empty Harleston shop promotes food heroes

A ringing till was replaced with the sound of sizzling pots and pans as a shop unit was transformed into a pioneering showcase for local food and drink.

Shoppers popped into the Harleston Creative Kitchen to pick up some recipe ideas and inspiration to use local seasonal produce.

The empty shop in Bullock Fair Close will host a programme of cookery demonstrations and workshops from local chefs and experts over the next two weeks as part of a scheme to promote the food and drink the Waveney Valley has to offer.

Harleston is the first of seven market towns in south Norfolk and north Suffolk to benefit from European funding allocated by the Waveney Valley Local Action Group to boost the economy of the area.

Sally Williams, programme manager for the Harleston Creative Kitchen and Local Heroes project, said the initiative had so far been well received and could be rolled out to other towns.

'It is a pilot and to my knowledge, on a community level, it has not been done before.'

'People in Harleston are spoilt because they have the greengrocers, butchers, and bakers, which so many towns have lost and people are already celebrating local food. However, some of the foods sold in local shops are not local and we are trying to get customer demand and trying to look around and see what can be sourced locally to support local retailers and producers,' she said.

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The kitchen will stay open until November 26. The scheme has received �27,000 from the Waveney Valley Local Action Group, which has been match funded by �9,000 from the Big Lottery Fund and Harleston Town Council.