Norfolk-based arts and community charity Creative Arts East is embarking on their 25th Anniversary year this September, and the celebrations have already kicked off following their nomination as a finalist in the Rural Business Awards.

‘Written in Dust’ by Patch of Blue Theatre Company, toured with Creative Arts East and performed here in Whissonsett Village Hall.

Creative Arts East is one of the leading arts charities in East Anglia, and their aim is to combat isolation, improve wellbeing, confidence and skills, and grow social connectedness by helping rural communities engage in arts and culture. They were first established in 1993 and initially helped 6 different communities in Norfolk run 12 professional live performance events.

They now work in over 100 different rural communities across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, and support 500 volunteer-led arts events every year. As well as their long-running live performance touring scheme, their ventures now include a successful community cinema scheme and a variety of participatory projects that engage isolated elders and young people in arts activity.

Creative Arts East
Participants of our participatory music & dance sessions for older people taking part in belly dancing.

It was announced this summer that Creative Arts East were successful in becoming a finalist in the fourth annual Rural Business Awards, for the East of England ‘Rural Social Enterprise, Charity or Community Project of the Year’ category. Executive Director Natalie Jode said of the nomination:

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be a finalist, particularly in our 25th year of operation. Isolation and loneliness are hugely prevalent issues at the moment, particularly within rural communities, and Creative Arts East are proud to have been helping combat these within East Anglia using the arts, and look forward to another 25 years of doing so.”

The Rural Business Awards, sponsored by Amazon, are the only UK-wide business awards specifically recognising excellence within the rural sector. The 13 awards celebrate the achievements of businesses across a range of categories, including start-ups, charities, creative businesses, manufacturing and retail. The winners will be announced at the regional East of England finals on Thursday 25th October, held at Trinity Park in Ipswich, with the winner in each category going on to compete at the National Final in February 2019.

As well as the nomination, Creative Arts East are planning a whole year of celebrations, which will include a range of fun events and a donation campaign to raise ‘£25000 for 25 years’. Any donations they receive will be doubled through special funding from Arts Council England. They have also commissioned a short film, produced by local film company Copper Crayon, to highlight the impact of their work. This can be seen on their social media and website. For more information about Creative Arts East, visit