Fearn Ainsworth is the Commercial Development Manager for the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, home to the Royal Norfolk Show – and many more events. With the RNAA getting the go ahead to futureproof its Events Centre, she explains what it could mean for the community
What does your role at the RNAA entail?
My role entails generating additional income streams for the charity and Norfolk Showground Ltd the commercial arm of the business, developing new business innovation and developments to ensure the longevity of the charity.
What do you love about your job?
I love the variety of my role one day I am working on a construction project to develop future business the next I’m working with local businesses on sponsorship and marketing opportunities.
Are you Norfolk born and raised? What do you love about the county?
I’m originally from Kinross in Scotland and moved to Norfolk in 2015, which I now call home with my family. I love the community feel within the business sector in Norfolk and personally enjoy spending time on the Broads.
For those people who think the Norfolk Showground is the location of the Royal Norfolk Show and that’s it, what other events take place there?
We host a variety of events ran by ourselves and other organisations such as the largest skills and careers event in the region, music/dance festivals, exhibitions, conferences, and sporting events.
What’s happening with the Events Centre?
We are creating an extension to our existing events space – this will provide kitchen space, meeting rooms and toilet facilities with an additional centre entrance, allowing better utilisation of the space for pre-existing event organisers and for new events. The space will be more adaptable and versatile changing from a 4,000-standing capacity to a 600-seater and 300-seater dinner event or conference space.
How important is sustainability to the RNAA?
The RNAA is making strong moves forward in our aims for a sustainable events venue. The first piece was our solar panel project now complete and due to generate 102% of our electrical needs across the year. We are in the process of working on a sustainability programme across the site to include ground source heat pumps and buildings upgrades. We aim to be an exemplar events venue in the region.
And is there a new bus service to the showground?
There is. We have worked with Konnect bus to increase the public transport links to the showground adding evening and weekend routes. We are very keen to encourage sustainable travel outside of the city and look to continue this further as we move through our sustainability programme.
What new events will the RNAA be able to offer?
We are always looking to work with local businesses and event’s organisers to utilise the showground however we also work closely with local councils, charities, and sports groups. The showground is there for the community, and we are working hard to encourage community use of the space such as working with Wymondham archery club who now train on site during the winter months and many more.
What is the time-frame and are there any more plans you can reveal?
The events centre extension is due to begin on July 3, straight after the Royal Norfolk Show and will be complete by October 2023. We currently have two planning applications in, one to re-introduce a caravan and camping site on the showground and the other for a Food Hall and Market Garden.
Images supplied by the RNAA