Aylsham celebrates its 15th anniversary as a Cittaslow town
Aylsham is celebrating 15 years of Cittaslow status, the international network of towns and cities that promotes quality of living.
In recognition of this anniversary, the International Cittaslow Committee has arranged to send a multi-nationality delegation of members to Aylsham in November, when it will hold its autumn committee meeting.
Aylsham’s Cittaslow Committee will host around 35 international members over the weekend of 6th, 7th, 8th November. There will be a formal lunchtime welcome reception at Blickling Hall on Friday 6th followed by a guided walk of the estate, focusing on Riverlands and the current chalk-stream restoration project.
The International Cittaslow Committee will visit the regular Farmers’ Market in the town square on Saturday morning and meet local traders. It will then convene its autumn meeting at the town hall, which will also play host to a formal celebratory dinner that evening. The group will depart after a brunch on Sunday morning organised by the Aylsham Slow Food group, which also celebrates its 15th birthday this year.
Patrick Prekopp, chairman of both Cittaslow Aylsham and Slow Food Aylsham, says: “Cittaslow aims to promote a better quality of life and we here, in Aylsham, hope to preserve what makes the town special. And it’s a mark of our success that we have been able to sustain that principle over the past 15 years.
“For that, though, we have to thank all the community groups that bring people together and the Town Council for supporting us so generously.
“There is also a fundamental link between Cittaslow and Slow Food which actively promotes good local food, suppliers and retailers and by engaging with the community through support of traditional, local markets and artisans.
“Essentially, both groups work together to make the town a greener and happier place to live with a slower pace of life.”
Aylsham, through Cittaslow, pioneered the plastic bag-free revolution in the UK in 2008 leading the way in trying to change shopping habits. More than 70 businesses joined the scheme.
Other environmental initiatives include a regular litter-picking programme, clearing public walkways and cycle routes, and encouraging people to grow their own, expanding their knowledge of seasonality, and local food.
It boosts the local economy by sponsoring the monthly farmers’ markets and weekly general markets and, alongside Slow Food, the three-day October Food Festival, which attracts a wide range of interest from near and far.
In community terms, it acts as an umbrella organisation to bring other clubs and societies together like Walkers Are Welcome, the WI, U3A, and Aylsham In Bloom, which aspires to bring a sense of pride to the town by use of colourful and seasonal displays
What is Blickling’s Riverlands project?
We rely on rivers for so much, but currently only 14 per cent of England’s river catchments are in good health and, as a result, 13 per cent of freshwater and wetland species are now threatened with extinction from Britain.
Blickling Estate is setting out to help reverse this trend through its participation in the ‘Riverlands’ project. Working with the Environment Agency, Blickling is playing its part in helping to revive one of the UK’s most precious rivers, the Bure in Norfolk. The aim is to create clean, healthy waterways, rich in wildlife, that are loved and cared for by all.