Last month I was delighted to attend the first employment fair in Downham Market. With over 20 organisations in attendance, the aim of the event was to highlight the significant training, apprenticeship and employment opportunities available in West Norfolk. For example the RAF said they are recruiting over 3000 personnel across the UK in jobs ranging from aircraft engineers, ITC specialists to reservists who are able to commit 27 days per annum. I also met Lorna Kitt from Loubear and Tops who since setting up her company in Downham Market eight months ago has secured 600 orders for her unique special event themed company. During the past five years rural start-ups have increased by 30 percent and with the government’s commitment to see three million apprenticeships over the coming years, there really are some fantastic opportunities available for our young people.
Of course key to attracting new business is good transport links. That is why along with my fellow MPs I am pressing to ensure the half hourly service on the Kings Lynn to London line comes into service in 2017. We met the rail minister in the summer and have raised the schedule with the Secretary of State for Transport highlighting the boost to jobs, local housing and that new business and training opportunities will be encouraged to locate to the area.
I had the privilage to be invited to two great fundraising events in South West Norfolk. The LILAC ladies reached their 10th anniversary this year and over the past decade have raised tens of thousands of pounds for the Big C charity. A celebration tea was held at Strattons Hotel Swaffham with some particularly tasty scones consumed! Also over in Downham Market the Castle Hotel and Downham Tandoori held a 10 km charity run with sponsorship money reaching £2500 to be split between Great Ormond Street Hospital and Cancer Research-fantastic effort by all those involved.