I met Jill Watkinson at the Grapes Hill Community Garden volunteer and sponsor afternoon in September. We had communicated on social media before, but had the pleasure of meeting face to face for once! Besides the community garden, Jill supports many other causes, and is also the orchestrator of Norfolk TweetUp. In October, it was held at The Feed.
Norfolk TweetUp is an event for local companies, organisations and individuals to come together in support of one another. Born out of hashtags - #norwichhour and #norfolkhour - it moved from LED screen to real life, doing what social media does best, bring people together. It's free to attend, although we are asked to donate a packet of biscuits, which are then given to . The biscuits are for the Big C Centre, where they run support groups for those affected by cancer.
It is always held in a different venue close to the city, with the intention to shine a spotlight on another perhaps little-known location in the city that deserves more attention. This month, it was The Feed.
The Feed is a community cafe on Prince of Wales street - not really a road I have frequented since my student days; a road populated by nightclubs and takeaways. I don't think I would ever have found this cafe if it weren't for Norfolk Tweetup, but I'm so glad I have now.
They are dedicated to supporting the community. The "pay it forward" scheme allows customers to put money into the till that can then be used to give a homeless person a hot drink and a place to take shelter for a while. They help those with barriers to employment, by offering training to persons who may have experienced homelessness or drug addiction, or any number of difficult cirmustances. All their profits go towards further charitable causes and the coffee is darn good too!
Visit their website to learn more about what they do and how they support the community: https://thefeed.org.uk/
Networking isn't the kindest of words. But replace it with "coffee and a chat" and it's suddenly much more appealing. And that's what this was, a casual, free-flowing sharing of ideas.
I met a huge variety of people:
A Freelance Writer, who is taking his first comic book to Comic Con.
An Actor and Producer, with a finger in every creative pie.
Non-profits spreading the good word.
An Artist that eschews art galleries, and takes to the woods instead, with sculpture trails.
And many more...
Make sure you find these wonderful people on Twitter and give them a follow:
And a special shout out to The Benjamin Foundation (@CharityTBF) who are hosting a Sleep Out on November 14th to raise money for homeless people and those at risk of homelessness.
If you're a local business or freelance worker looking to get involved, then just go to the website to find out when the next event is, and maybe I'll see you there! http://www.norfolktweetup.co.uk