Charities and donors unite at the Bishop’s Garden

A group of people stand in the Bishop's Garden in Norwich. They stand between two flowerbeds near an ornamental vase.

Donors and charities came together in The Bishop’s Garden to celebrate what can be achieved when Norfolk unites for the common good

The Bishop’s Garden provided the perfect backdrop an inspiring event that aimed to give donors and charities the chance to meet one another and talk about the difference they were making together. Over the course of of the evening, donors had the opportunity to learn about three different causes they had supported over the past year that are dedicated to making a difference in Norfolk. We invited 200 people who donated to the Foundation last year to one of our key programmes:

  • The Nourishing Norfolk Project, focused on ensuring that everyone in the community has access to healthy and nutritious food.
  • The Community Hot Spots initiative, which provided safe and welcoming spaces during the winter months for people to come together, build relationships.
  • The Sir Norman Lamb Coalition for Young People, dedicated to improving the mental health and wellbeing of young people in the community.

Just under 100 representatives from 48 local charities and community groups were invited to the event, too. They had the chance to discuss the transformative effect of the Foundation’s funding and support on people who need it most. The event began with an opening speech by the Bishop of Norwich and the Foundation’s Chief Executive, Claire Cullens. Charities addressed attendees at their tables to describe the impact of donations on their frontline work. 

Bishop of Norwich stands in a white marquee addressing a seated crowd from a lectern.
The Bishop of Norwich gave the opening speech [Credit: James Burton Photography]
Carly Mason from St Giles Trust talks about the Nourishing Norfolk food hub she runs on Magdalen Street [Credit: James Burton Photography]

Everyone who attended was moved to hear the many stories from these frontline groups, who are helping Norfolk communities to cope with multiple challenges. Charities who make up the Nourishing Norfolk network discussed the realities of hunger and revealed how their projects helped people back onto their feet after Covid-19 and how they continue to do so amid the cost of living crisis. Similarly, Community Hot-Spots described how they not only gave people a warm place to go during the energy crisis, but also how they helped neighbours overcome isolation this winter. Sir Norman Lamb Coalition members discussed the difference the network they were a part of was making, noting the power links forged between organisations had on improving the mental wellbeing of children and young people in our county.

The success of this event was a testament to the generosity and compassion of the donors who came together to support these worthwhile causes, and to the ingenuity, creativity and determination of the local charities who work tirelessly every day to help everyone in Norfolk lead a better life.

We build community when we bring together people who care. The Garden Gala brought together people making change in their communities and those supporting them to do so. By sharing experiences, starting new conversations, and bringing together the people who make things happen, we can create a brighter Norfolk for everyone.

Claire Cullens, Chief Executive, Norfolk Community Foundation

The event was a great opportunity to celebrate the work we are all doing and give each project a voice to share our experiences. I met some amazing people on the night, which will no doubt lead to more partnership working as wells a funding opportunities to keep our food hub sustainable for the future.

Simon Prince, Coastal Community Supermarket

Thank you firstly to the Bishop of Norwich, who so generously donated use of the garden and the marquee for this event, and thank you also to our event sponsors, Chadwicks and Birkertts.

Logos of Chadwicks and Birketts

Thank you also to ProHelp Member James Burton Photography, who provided the beautiful images of the event featured in this blog.

[Published: 26.06.2023]