My name is Sophie, and I’m Director of Housing at Freebridge Community Housing. I began my career at another of our partners, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, but after the stock transfer in 2006, I moved across to Freebridge – so I have been here over 13 years.

After I finished my A-Levels, I decided to take a year out before going to uni, and when I saw a temporary role advertised at the council I thought it would be ideal. Really quickly I realised how much I loved working. I saw that there were lots of opportunities for me to progress my career, and made the decision not to go to uni after all, avoiding the debt!

The council allowed me to experience different roles and service areas within the organisation, and it became clear to me that I wanted to work within housing management. It offered me so much variety and as I really enjoy meeting and helping people it seemed ideal.

I can definitely say there are no such things as a ‘typical day’ at Freebridge. As Head of Housing Services, my day could involve anything from writing policies and procedures, to attending meetings with a range of partners or supporting my team to resolve complex cases.

One of the things that I love most about working here are my colleagues and the team around me. We have dedicated, committed staff who make coming to work far more enjoyable. Freebridge have nurtured and developed me as a person, for example, I am currently studying for my ILM Level Five Diploma in Leadership and Management after having recently completed my ILM Level Five Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring.

I have been very happy and successful through my career so far and I am glad that I decided to stay in west Norfolk. With a large family and friends in the area, I feel that I have the perfect work/life balance. There are great places to go and things to do right on your doorstep, plus we’re ideally positioned between Norwich and Cambridge, and less than two hours from London, for times when you do want to venture further afield.

West Norfolk is a safe and welcoming place to live, with relatively low levels of crime, which is important to me. It’s also very picturesque and has a number of different types of attractions; a great place to raise a family or for anyone keen on the outdoors!

I’ve never felt at a disadvantage by not moving away. I’ve been able to build a career from a range of opportunities that I don’t feel I would have had elsewhere, while living in one of the most beautiful places in the country. All of this with my family and friends around me – what could be better?


I was born and grew up in Taiwan.  When I first started work out there I was a primary school teacher teaching groups of between 30-40 students aged 8 to 12.  In 2003 I came to the UK, to London, to study for my Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) and to pursue and improve my professional development.  The UK education system is well known across the world as being good quality.

After I finished my Master’s, I looked for work in the UK so that I could widen my experience and I found a teaching position in London in a community college.  I was there for 2 years before I got a lecturing job at the College of West Anglia here in King’s Lynn.  My then boyfriend (now my husband) got a job working in the council here and that’s why I looked for something nearby. I didn’t actually know where King’s Lynn was but my boyfriend told me that it was quite close to Cambridge.  I sent my CV to the College and a few months later I was offered an interview and a job.

At the College I worked initially as an ESOL lecturer and course director for a full time ESOL course.  That involved working with people who have English as a second language.  I also helped Business students with their academic language skills.  I am now working in the Learning Practice which is the team that guides and supports all our lecturers in improving teaching and learning.  I love my job.  I love the diversity and also the support I get from colleagues and managers.  I have a really nice team of people who I work with.  People are really friendly, if you ask for assistance they help you.  When I first started I didn’t have much experience working in an FE College and so I received mentoring which really helped me to settle in.

I’m quite involved in the community.  I started off getting involved in the Chinese community and now I’m also involved in a local charity.  I am a trustee and volunteer for Kings Lynn Area Resettlement Support (KLARS).  We organise activities in the community and also provide advice and guidance for people who are from different backgrounds to help them settle down in Kings Lynn.  The community has become much more diverse over the past few years.  There are people from lots of different countries.  I find people here are extremely welcoming.  The lifestyle is excellent.  Living and working in London was much more stressful.  I find that most of the time I can get a good balance between life and work.

Norfolk is full of beautiful places.  If you like animals and birds, nature, there are wonderful reserves and the coastline is brilliant.  London and the Midlands are quite convenient so getting to other areas is quite easy. I love the countryside and the fact I can just hop on a train to Cambridge if I want to.  I wouldn’t move back to London, it’s too crowded and crazy.

This year Joyce became the first member of the CWA lecturing team to receive Advanced Teacher Status through the Education and Training Foundation on the first cohort to be passed by the Foundation.  This status is a badge of advanced professionalism and mastery of teaching in Further Education.

“Driving home, seeing the sun set over the sea, it feels like being on holiday.”

Originally from Bedford, Shaun Hindle has spent the last two years living and working in West Norfolk having relocated to join the College of West Anglia as Director of Employer Engagement. And for Shaun, who has also worked in the Midlands and Somerset, making the location where he once holidayed his home was an easy decision.

“From the moment I arrived at the College for my interview, I have been made to feel welcome. There is a real sense of belonging.”

Shaun’s path to his current role began in manufacturing before stepping into education by chance when he helped his wife out one day. After a stint teaching, Shaun moved into business development before his current role, working with local businesses.

“I work with local businesses in a number of ways, including to develop our curriculum ensuring it meet the future skills needs, support future recruitment and deliver of apprenticeships.  The main aspect is connecting the business community with the College, developing the skills for the future.

“What is especially enjoyable is discovering new businesses out there. There are so many hidden gems in West Norfolk and our local companies are rightly proud of what they do.”

Shaun has found that he has been able to make a big impact in West Norfolk. Not only was he awarded Business Person of the Year for Fenland, he has also been appointed Chair of Fenland Chamber of Commerce. Shaun said: “So much has been made possible by the team around me, their constant determination and energy allows us to achieve.”

He added:  “I’m excited to make the most of new opportunities. For example, we are doing some great work with our Uniformed Services. Not only are we training students through the courses, we are also recruiting ex-armed forces teaching staff creating a perfect skilled eco-system.”

For Shaun, working in West Norfolk was the perfect choice. “There is nowhere like West Norfolk. I have better work/life balance as I’m not spending so much time traveling.  And it’s the community, the people, that really makes it a great place to be. West Norfolk is absolutely special.”

My name is Vicki Hopps and I am the Environmental Health Manager (Commercial) at the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.

I was born and grew up in the North East of England in County Durham and then moved to Salford in Greater Manchester to study Environmental Health returning to Hexham in to the Tyne Valley for my first job.

I had always wanted to work and live by the sea and when the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk were advertising for Principal Officers in Environmental Health I applied never thinking that I would be successful.  I was really pleased to be offered the job, so I got my wish and the opportunity to progress in my career was a bonus!

No two days are the same in the world of Environmental Health.  My area of work covers; food safety, health and safety and licensing. One minute I could be dealing with a serious accident the next explaining to a food business what they need to do in order to comply with new food regulations.  The work is so varied which is what I love about my chosen career.  I really feel that I am able to contribute something to the community and residents of West Norfolk whether it is by improving working conditions, ensuring food is safely produced or the taxi they use on their night out is safe.

In terms of Environmental Health there is nothing that West Norfolk doesn’t offer.  We have a vast array of food businesses from small cottage industries to large multinational processors.  There is a motor sports arena and large warehousing units which we have health and safety responsibility for. The dock provides moorings for numerous fishing vessels and the coastal areas have some of the best shellfish in the country all of which fall to the Commercial Team to inspect.  In terms of licensing the night time economy and taxi licensing provides its own unique challenges and there is never a dull moment.

If I had to sum up the three best things about West Norfolk they would be: the open space and lifestyle offered; the friendly people; and the diverse nature of the borough which is not found in many parts of the country.  I would encourage everyone to make the move like I have, come and enjoy life in west Norfolk!

When my father decided to take a promotion in his work and move the family out of London to East Anglia he told the 5 year old me that I would be living by the sea, which I thought would be brilliant.

However, as we were not as close to the sea as I was led to believe more like 30 miles away, and the nearest beach was very stony, not quite the idyllic setting that I had imagined when moving from London.  I grew up to love the countryside while still enjoying easy access to London to see family and friends.

When I began to choose somewhere to start my nurse training I still pursued my dream of living within easy access of a lovely sandy beach that’s why I chose King’s Lynn.  I still have easy access to the cities Cambridge and London, beautiful countryside and sandy beaches giving me a choice of ways to relax after a busy day at the hospital.

I started my nurse training in 1984 and have always been supported by the Trust with regards to professional and personal development.  During my 30 years at the Trust, I have been given the opportunity to travel to recruit staff as well as gain experience in order to develop and progress the services to patients and staff.  I have been encouraged to develop my knowledge and skills and attend Study Days and appropriate courses such as my Certificate in Education and modules that have enabled me to complete my degree from the Open University.

During my career, I have worked in a variety of clinical areas contributing to my progression through from Student Nurse to a Senior Sister.  My current post of Practice Development Nurse enables me to use my wealth of experience about the Trust and the locality to develop and support staff as well as being a valuable resource for local Schools and Colleges wishing to learn more about careers in health and social care.

Last year, someone was kind enough to nominate me for the Trust’s Shining Stars (Reward and Recognition Scheme) Pride Award which I went on to win.  I also received an award for my long service to the Trust and this has made me feel very proud and valued by those around me.

When I started work at the Trust I never thought I would remain in King’s Lynn but the friendly supportive atmosphere at the Trust and the locality has kept me here.  I am able to enjoy a varied social life and some of the activities such as the Staff Yoga Classes and organised trips help me to maintain my work life balance and enjoy some relaxation time with my colleagues.

In my experience here at the Trust, people are always interested in you, this makes me feel welcome and part of a really good team working together to provide a high standard of care to patients in this area.

As Careline Community Service Manager for the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, Judith Berry is playing a key role in shaping services for elderly and vulnerable people in the district.

Judith, whose background is in the voluntary sector, health and social care and the NHS, has overall management responsibility for the Careline Service and Lily. In her role, Judith is committed to developing the service and making a difference to more people. “I am looking to move assistive technology forward for customers in west and north Norfolk,” she explained.

For Judith, there are so many aspects of the job which she enjoys. “I love the people side of the job. I enjoy being out and about meeting all kinds of people. I also really like being able to innovate and develop our offer, listening to ideas and trying to implement them.”

“I also really enjoy working for the borough council. They are a very supportive organisation to work for and encourage development.”

Judith originally came to West Norfolk when her husband relocated for work. “We have stayed as it is a nice area to bring up a family.

Outside of work, Judith is very involved in running. “I am a Run Director for Parkrun, I am a qualified running coach for a community running club for beginners and I am also a member of Ryston Runners.”

“I enjoy living in King’s Lynn town with the countryside close by and it’s convenient to get to work.  My work takes me across the county and it is nice to be able to see the area.”

For Alex Fradley, a career in West Norfolk has given him the opportunity to fulfil his potential, and access a fantastic quality of life.

Having joined the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk as a Temporary Graduate Planner in 2014, Alex has enjoyed significant progression. Alex, who holds a master’s degree in Town and Planning, has recently been promoted to a Principal Planner. Explained Alex: “I am a key member of the team responsible for the Borough Council’s Local Plan which sets out our high level policies and aspiration to 2026.”

“I really enjoy my role because it allows me to shape the place for the future. I also really appreciate the variety of the job – I get out and about on visits, courses, and in meetings with local communities.”

Alex has found that West Norfolk offers an inspiring working environment. He said: “The borough is mainly rural with a strong heritage. There are also urban areas and around one hundred parishes. This allows me a rich variety in my work. “

In just a few years, Alex has enjoyed significant career success with the Borough Council and believes this has been made possible because of the support, opportunity and access to development he has been given by his employer. But, for Alex, what also makes the Borough Council such a great place to work is the focus on work/life balance. Said Alex: “I am supported as a person, it is recognised that I have a life outside of work and I can work flexibly.”

The lifestyle is a major pull for Alex who lives in West Norfolk with his wife and three year old son. “A few years ago, we bought a 1972 VW camper van. Most weekends we hit the open road and within 30 minutes of leaving work we can be on the beach or in the forest relaxing for a few days.”

“The lifestyle on offer, with the natural environment and the connectivity to Cambridge / London makes West Norfolk a great place to live.

“You spend so much time at work in life, I think it’s not only really important to enjoy your job, the people you work with and who you work for, but that you are able to enjoy life outside of work. West Norfolk offers that opportunity.”