Part­ner­ship spread­ing the word about what For­est has to of­fer

Gloucestershire Echo - - BUSINESS -

THE For­est Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship is gear­ing up for a big year in 2019. And it is en­cour­ag­ing all lo­cal busi­nesses, small and medium en­ter­prises and en­trepreneurs to sign up to the or­gan­i­sa­tion and have their voices heard.

Launched in Jan­uary with a hand­ful of stake­hold­ers, FEP has grown to have 150 mem­bers rep­re­sent­ing more than 100 or­gan­i­sa­tions and busi­nesses.

And it has se­cured sig­nif­i­cant com­mit­ment from its busi­ness mem­bers and vol­un­teed to take on se­nior roles.

FEP was formed to give the For­est of Dean a voice in the Glos2050 big con­ver­sa­tion and to de­liver a thriv­ing and sus­tain­able econ­omy.

This aim is al­ready com­ing to fruition by bring­ing the right peo­ple to­gether at the right time to com­mu­ni­cate a sim­ple mes­sage: “The For­est of Dean is well and truly open for busi­ness.”

Four Sme-led sub-groups – dig­i­tal con­nec­tiv­ity, ed­u­ca­tion and skills, bridges and bor­ders plus trans­port and in­fra­struc­ture – have been meet­ing monthly to iden­tify key is­sues and ob­jec­tives.

They are form­ing ac­tion-ori­ented plans for 2019.

Chair­man An­drew Cal­lard shared these plans at a stake­holder meet­ing at the For­est’s new Glouces­ter­shire Col­lege cam­pus at Cin­der­ford, leav­ing mem­bers with the clear mes­sage that ex­cit­ing times are ahead.

The For­est of Dean has his­tor­i­cally been poor at shout­ing about its suc­cesses, a mes­sage re­in­forced at the meet­ing by Busi­ness West di­rec­tor Ian Mean.

He said: “The For­est Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship has been go­ing for nine months, and has pro­duced a set of ex­cel­lent plans that bode well for the eco­nomic growth of the area.

“I am im­pressed that there is a driv­ing lead­er­ship for the FEP, with plans to match, in the shape of An­drew Cal­lard who is a good mar­ket­ing man.

“Those plans to de­velop growth seem re­al­is­tic. I would go as far as to say that I have never seen a bet­ter set of plans to de­liver such re­al­is­tic eco­nomic growth for a ru­ral com­mu­nity.

“But if the For­est is to make real progress, they must get bet­ter at shout­ing about their suc­cesses.”

In its first year, FEP has en­gaged with key or­gan­i­sa­tions, lob­bied key net­work providers and im­proved com­mu­ni­ca­tion to busi­nesses via a ded­i­cated Twit­ter han­dle @FEP2050 and the hash­tag #FOD2050.

Bring­ing busi­nesses and schools to­gether via the ed­u­ca­tion and skills sub-group has re­sulted in the in­tro­duc­tion of a flex­i­ble work place­ment scheme at Dene Magna School in Mitcheldean, im­prov­ing the flex­i­bil­ity for stu­dents look­ing for work ex­pe­ri­ence op­por­tu­ni­ties.

An ac­tion group is look­ing to build on this suc­cess, by de­liv­er­ing an In­spir­ing the For­est event pro­gramme for 2019 to high­light busi­nesses and raise as­pi­ra­tions.

Hav­ing al­ready con­trib­uted to a num­ber of key con­sul­ta­tions, in­clud­ing Glos2050, Cross-rail Fran­chise, Dene Magna Sixth Form, House of Lords Select Com­mit­tee Ru­ral Econ­omy and For­est Com­mu­nity Hospi­tal, they have now been in­vited to con­sult on the For­est of Dean Lo­cal Plan 2041.

This is a huge mile­stone for FEP, for the first time giv­ing For­est busi­nesses the op­por­tu­nity to in­flu­ence coun­cil plans.

Speak­ers at the stake­holder meet­ing, Ian Mean (Busi­ness West), An­drew Maliphant (The Com­mu­nity Works), For­est of Dean District Coun­cil re­gen­er­a­tion man­ager Wendy Jack­son, chair­man An­drew Cal­lard and Coun­cil­lors Roger James and Tim Gwilliam

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.