The High Sheriff of Norfolk made the short journey from her home at Swaffham to get a firsthand look at the work being carried out at Open
Road on Wednesday 14 October. Lady Georgina Roberts, who took up the centuries old honorary post of High Sheriff in March 2020, was the first VIP to visit the charity after it reopened in September following the initial Covid lockdown in the spring and summer of 2020.

As well as providing vocational training and qualifications in motor mechanics for young people who are in danger of falling out of regular education, Open Road now boasts a thriving construction industries workshop preparing young people for a career in the building industry. Her visit therefore seemed highly appropriate as she has pledged to help focus on “building a safe and strong community” during her year of tenure. During her visit Lady Roberts got to tour the workshops and training suites in Rollesby Road and see some of the state of the art equipment in use and training sessions in progress. She also took time to talk to the young construction and mechanical engineering trainees, their teachers and volunteers about the charity.

Lady Roberts, who was accompanied on her visit by her husband Sir Samuel, said afterwards: “I had heard from previous High Sheriffs very good reports of the work done by Open Road and was impressed with what I saw.” “I can see that for a range of reasons school does not suit everyone. From what I could see Open Road gives an alternative option to young people, a practical possibility of employment by acquiring skills needed in mechanics and building.” “The other role it gives is teaching the basics required by any employer, time keeping, listening to instructions and general personal organisation.”

“I imagine that learning a skill and knowing it is one needed in the adult working world is hugely confidence-giving and that too is needed by anyone going into the workplace.” Lady Roberts also spoke enthusiastically about the idea mooted for Open Road to launch a breakfast club for trainees.

She said: “I thought the idea of opening a breakfast place was such a good one. I know there is a real concern about feeding young people during the next few months.”

“As someone who loves breakfast and thinks it is a really important meal, nutritionally but also socially, it is something I would endorse.