Visit to Rocklands - Update

3rd May 2018

Schools, shops, churches and pubs are so often at the heart of what makes our villages so great – but when they are allowed to close, we often see the sense of community disappear with them. Unfortunately, too many of our villages in Norfolk have become dormitories because of this.

That’s why I was delighted to visit Rocklands again last week to see the tremendous ongoing efforts to keep this community vibrant.

I began the afternoon at the thriving Rocklands Primary School, meeting with Julie Dekker (the Executive Headteacher), Steven Ginn (the Deputy Headteacher) and all of the children – who were impeccably polite. It was fantastic to see how this rural village school has become such a prominent part of village life, providing high quality education without sacrificing the community spirit that make village schools so special.

Afterwards, as part of my new #VillageVoice tour, I travelled around the village with the Parish Council Chairman, David Howie, and the Chair of the School Governors, Dave Jones, to visit a number of sites.

We stopped at the Rocklands Community Shop, which I helped to re-open four years ago, and which is going from strength to strength. The work of the outstanding team of over forty volunteers must be given high praise, and because of their commitment and endeavour the shop is taking on ever more responsibilities at its post office and providing more and more services to the village – including a tea room/meeting space.

We later visited the two historic churches in the village, All Saints and St Peter’s (which both get good weekly attendances), before heading on to the White Hart Public House, which is run by a local family from the village. Despite the rainy weather, it was great to see the pub packed and full of life and laughter.

Finally, I attended a small event at the Playing Field Pavilion, meeting with local residents, community leaders and councillors from both Rocklands and surrounding villages. What was evident in abundance was the passion and commitment that those living in Rocklands, and also Great Ellingham and Little Ellingham, and I look forward to continuing to work with them all on a number of local campaigns in the area.

Rocklands is on a roll. Success breeds success, and every village can make this community renewal happen.

George Freeman visits Rocklands

George Freeman visits Rocklands

 

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