The Forum Norwich Norfolk


Onwards Norfolk: £592,000 Project Launched to Boost Local Businesses with Free, Innovative Training Programmes

Mailchimp Onwards

A brand new project, Onwards Norwich (part of Onwards Norfolk) is being launched today and is set to train and upskill local businesses and individuals in Norwich from January-June 2022.

This project has been set up by Norfolk Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) after they successfully secured £500,000 of funding through the government’s UK Community Renewal Fund. The three Norfolk BIDs (Norwich BID, King’s Lynn BID, and Great Yarmouth Town Centre Partnership) have collectively added £92,000 to this funding, bringing the total for the project to £590,000.  

Onwards Norwich will enable Norwich BID to offer free support as businesses recover from the impact of COVID-19. Onwards Norwich offers a range of different training and support initiatives, across four exciting projects set to boost Norfolk businesses from January-June 2022.

These projects are free for all local businesses within the BID area who wish to participate, meaning that everyone can benefit. From online skills training to place-based investments, these projects are all designed with business and career goals in focus.

What’s on offer: 

  • Digital & Media Skills Training
    This innovative programme equips businesses with the digital skills they need to adapt to the ever-changing world, following the impact of Covid-19. From social media to email, this course covers all the digital marketing efforts businesses need to thrive. Businesses can choose to take the courses face-to-face, online or on-demand, at a pace that suits them. This training takes the form of pre-recorded videos, live workshops, informal events, radio shows, a Slack workspace, additional resources including personal audits, and self-quizzes.
  • Net Zero Waste Champions
    This project is set to help businesses achieve Net Zero Waste status, becoming Net Zero Waste Champions! Businesses will be supported in creating Net Zero Waste strategies and delivery plans, which in turn could help businesses reduce costs, attract new customers, and increase sustainability. This project will provide practical tools to enable and encourage businesses to prioritise the reduction of their overall environmental impact, moving towards a zero-carbon output with the potential to increase revenue.

  • Hospitality & Leisure Training
    Onwards will help hospitality and leisure businesses - as well as individuals looking to retrain within this sector - by providing free sector-specific training courses. These free courses are aimed at local businesses looking to improve their staff’s skillset, helping to recruit and retain employees. We are also offering this to individuals seeking employment or to set up their own business, by offering free upskilling opportunities within this sector. These courses range from Employment Law and Customer Service, to Food Safety and Vulnerability training, and can be flexible to suit each business’s and individual’s needs – face to face, online or blended.

  • Business Support Hubs
    Coming soon, February 2022: Norwich BID is setting up a brand new Business Support Hub at The Forum. This space will be used to deliver training and networking events, as well as a place where individuals can drop-in for one-to-one business support, advice and guidance. Watch this space!

What are the benefits for local businesses? 

  • The projects are free for SMEs/individuals in the BID areas to participate in
  • Boosts local economy
  • Will help SMEs adapt and prepare for the rapidly changing future, following on from the pandemic
  • Opportunity for businesses to seek free support, guidance, and advice
  • Opportunity for SMEs to reduce costs, increase sustainability and attract new customers 
  • Gives unemployed people an opportunity to secure free training and increase their employment prospects
  • Free upskilling & training for hospitality & leisure industry

Martin Blackwell, head of operations at Norwich Business Improvement District said: “We are delighted to have received this award and for the three BIDs in Norfolk to be collaborating together in this way for the first time.  We know from talking to our business community on a daily basis some of the challenges they are facing. These projects all contribute in different ways to ensuring our local business have tools to be able to adapt in a way that ensures they remain relevant, but also in a sustainable way.” 

What do local Norwich businesses have to say?

Christian Motta, Grosvenor Fish Bar, said: “As a local small business, we think that the new project which Norwich BID is launching would be so beneficial to many people who are either already in the sector or thinking of joining. The training aspect, in media, digital, leisure and hospitality is very important along with information and guidance on cutting back our waste, especially now as we are all trying to build back our businesses coming out of the pandemic. Also having a hub centrally located would be very beneficial to pop in for advice when needed.”

Phillipa Clements, Tombland Bookshop, said: “It is great to hear of this new collaboration.  These projects should help local businesses respond to some of the challenges faced following the global pandemic. It is particularly good to see the Net Zero Waste project offering help to businesses with strategies to increase sustainability and prioritise the reduction of their environmental impact.”

Tamara Rampley, STAND Ethical Fashion & The Jade Tree, said: "I am thrilled for the East of England that our 3 BIDs have secured this funding, to help us 'Build Back Better'. At a time of challenge and change it is critical to have consistent, reliable and forward-looking support. Having worked with Norwich BID to establish the Cathedral Quarter and taken part in their Upcycling event I can say from experience how professional, passionate and helpful - almost in advance of asking! - everyone is and I am excited to build on these relationships so that our region, and my business, is more resilient and responsive to future change and innovation as a result of the help on offer.”

Local SMEs in Norwich can head to to find out more and to book onto the free courses.

Additional Information:

The Community Renewal Fund (CRF) 

The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. For more information, visit

Norfolk BIDs are partnering with Digital Remit (for media & digital skills training)  Night Time Economy Solutions (for hospitality & leisure training) and Groundwork East (for Net Zero Waste).