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New Community Shop And Studio Cranks Up Art And Culture For All Ages

Julie Briggs Published: 01 February 2024

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Photo of cafe with thinking man statue
That Little Norfolk Studio with a sculpture of the Thinking Man made by Andrew Crichton of Design & Decorate.

Live music, jamming sessions, workshops, wellbeing, street food, and entertainment are on the bill for the new Little Norfolk Shop & Studio opened in Wymondham this January.

Kicking off 2024 with an innovative line-up of music projects and community events, ClearCompany CIC has brought together its collective of artists and artisans under one roof on the fringes of the breath-taking Wymondham Abbey, offering a flexible venue for a broad spectrum of activities.

The social enterprise team has put in weeks of work preparing the former Abbey Schoolroom building, with donated materials and labour from businesses including Quickstep, B&Q, Dulux, and local designer and decorator Andrew Crichton of Design & Decorate. The upper studio floor offers stunning views of the Abbey and is equipped for live music, dining, workshops, and relaxing wellbeing projects, while the lower floor is adapted to be a shop during the day that can accommodate events in the evenings.

The new venue is the latest phase in ClearCompany’s development, seeing the social enterprise grow from pop-up events during the Covid pandemic, to putting down roots in Wymondham with a community venue that harnesses its network of creatives and entrepreneurs.

Julie Briggs, Founder Director of ClearCompany CIC, said “We are absolutely thrilled to have made our home in the heart of the community we originally established ourselves in. We have partnered with Wymondham Abbey, Wymondham Football Club, and Kett's Park over recent years to create events that showcase Norfolk artists and producers. Opening our shop and studio in the shadow of the Abbey gives us an opportunity to tailor events for community groups that unite people, skills and passions. It’s a momentous development for us.”

Photo of several people celebrating donation of white goods
South Norfolk Councillors meet ClearCompany team members having granted funds for white goods.

The Sound Café is amongst the projects being launched this year and will create a relaxed space for musicians, poets, and comedians to take the open mic, meet, collaborate, practice, and develop their skills. The first Café session on Saturday 20 January - from 3pm to 6pm for under 25s, and from 7pm for all ages – was developed following consultation with young musicians. The sessions will be held on the third Saturday of each month with the next on Saturday 17th February.

Anto Morra, musician, artist, and Director of ClearCompany, said: “The Sound Café is a great opportunity for all ages and musical genres to share ideas and enjoy each other’s music and company. The open mic is there for everyone to practise, collaborate, and celebrate local talent. We are really looking forward to hosting musicians of all stages, along with comedians and poets. Everyone is welcome!”

The forthcoming Studio programme includes a variety of activities to boost wellbeing and bring the community together. The search for Wymondham’s “Super Couple'' will be held on Valentine’s night, with music, food, and a competition based on the Mr & Mrs game show.

Slowdown Sundays will start from February 4th, offering a range of chill-out wellbeing activities and taster sessions. Norfolk Psychology is one of many wellbeing services collaborating with ClearCompany and will be advising on the wellbeing provision.

Craftily Bar Events has teamed up with ClearCompany to host cocktail making events on the last Friday of every month. And the Games Café will be launched in spring for visitors to enjoy games, food, and Abbey views. For further details, visit clearcompany.org.uk/tlns.

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