It has been a rewarding – albeit challenging – 10 months since I became Gloucester City Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Growth.
I had to hit the ground running, and there are so many facets to reimagining our city, but tenacity and fluid thinking are key.
The most important part of doing anything well is understanding the product and working with its best attributes.
Outer city and online retail started the demise of the high street, so, COVID-19 or not, every area has to reinvent itself now or it won’t survive.
I set up an Economic Recovery Task Force. It comprises around 30 representatives from all sectors – leading people in their own fields who understand challenges and see solutions, not the problem.
We have set an ambitious list of priorities to guide the city out of lockdown and that list is reducing as we start delivery of each goal.
- developing a skills academy for the creation of apprenticeships and careers within construction and digital industries at our new £110 million regeneration centre
- introducing a youth hub to support jobseekers taking advantage of the Government’s Kickstart programme
- actively seeking investors for our empty shops and strengthening support for larger employers.
Economic recovery and growth following COVID-19 will challenge every business, large and small. It won’t be overnight, but, together, we will get through this, as we always do in Gloucester.
My trusty friends through it all? Black coffee and 14-hour days!