Thursday, 12 December 2013

Waterbeach Pilot Project Agreed As Part Of South Cambridgeshire Economic Strategy

Council bosses have agreed extra support for Waterbeach businesses suffering from a reduction in trade following the closure of the Barracks in the village.

The pilot project in the village follows a revised economic development strategy being agreed yesterday and a recent summit held at South Cambridgeshire District Council’s offices where local firms gathered with councillors and business groups.

A breakfast business workshop in the New Year will be held to agree a village business vision and action plan to help firms remain viable and attract new trade.

The tailored support offered to businesses will be agreed with the firms in the area and will include individual business advice from Exemplas – a leading business support company employed by the Council.

A priority for the Council is to make sure villages remain vibrant and the new tailored business support being offered could be extended to more communities next year following the initial pilot with Waterbeach firms.

Visit Cambridge – which promotes the City and surrounding areas – will also be supporting the project to promote the village as a tourist destination.

The new initiative follows two successful series of business support workshops where around 225 people attended half-day interactive seminars on topics from marketing and setting up a new business, to budgeting and attracting new customers.

At a meeting of the Council’s Economic Development Portfolio Holder it was also agreed that bi-monthly e-newsletters will be sent to the growing number of firms signed up to the Council’s business register. This will make sure they can take advantage of services and advice being offered and maximise their opportunities to grow.

Economic development strategies for new towns or villages were also identified as a priority along with further rounds of business workshops and continuing with an apprenticeship scheme which has already been launched by the Council.

Cllr Nick Wright, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “Our economic development strategy and business friendly approach has helped see around 1,000 new jobs created in the district each year and now we want to make sure this continues. Although many villages and business sectors are thriving, we know that some communities and trades are struggling and this is where we want to step in to help. The new pilot we have announced for Waterbeach aims to deliver the specific business advice and a package of support needed to keep the community vibrant.”

Cllr James Hockney, local member for Waterbeach on South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “This specific support is excellent news and continues the work the community has been doing on our shop local campaign. Multi-agency meetings and the recent summit we held have also helped get us to this stage and collectively we want to make sure we do everything we can to keep the village’s businesses open. Any community would be hit by the loss of 900 military personnel and I hope all the local businesses take full advantage of this offer to make sure we see trade moving in the right direction.”