A big thank you to The Old Fire Station for hosting our May meeting, and for John at McGrews for providing fabulous refreshments. Part of our success is down to the generosity of the venues who host Carlisle Ambassador events, allowing any funds generated to be used to support the actual programme.
Nearly 200 people attended the meeting, and there was a lively mix of business and community based presentation. We were delighted that ITV Border News filmed at the meeting for the second time, giving an overview of our aims and highlighting “Give a Day to the City”.
The Leader of Carlisle City Council, Colin Glover, welcomed everyone to the venue, and gave a great overview of both the history and the future of The Old Fire Station. A fantastic addition to arts and culture in Carlisle, and already publicising a packed programme of events for 2015.
Michelle and Kate gave an update on progress, outlining how the CA group is moving from “ideas” at the first meeting of 2015 to concrete actions and results. This is more than just a “talking shop” – people are doing more business together, a really strong business and social community is emerging, and projects that were conceived back in January are turning into reality.
Key project update in brief: The Carlisle Road Cycle Network that was outlined at the last meeting by Richard Wise, is well into development and he is working closely with Hydrant to take the online platforms forward. View Richard’s original presentation here – it gives a great feel for the benefits that this will bring to the region. Mike James, who was just recovering from a hectic week of delivering a very successful “Gelt Gladiator” (supported both with resources and teams by fellow ambassadors), is following up on his dream to bring the British National Cycling Championships to the city. Meetings with the official bodies are now organised, and as this has already made waves in national cycling magazines it is definitely a case of watch this space!
Last but not least, More Handles and Carlisle Brass were inspired at the January meeting to make a difference to Carlisle with a two-pronged campaign. Firstly, a competition for the best dressed doors in the city. A prize of a one night stay has been donated by fellow CA members The Halston, and a unique plaque created by Funky Fusion. Still time to enter – see the More Handles blog here! Secondly, a call for “any old iron” scrap to be turned into cash for Cash for Kids. There has been great support from local business, media and individuals. We’ll let you know the total at the next meeting!
Before heading into the main body of the meeting, we were delighted to show the inspirational video created by This Is My Film – a huge contribution to the programme, and a great example of the generous collaboration and support. With freely given footage from Sam Hampson and photos by Brian Sherwen and Linda Bussey, it is well worth watching.
Next, we heard from Fred Story who gave a clear brief on direction for the Carlisle Ambassadors, and the important part we all play in making this a success. Commitment to joining as members; the generosity of those who support the CA programme, whether by hosting, sharing news and promoting aims, contributing project ideas, speaking, or rolling sleeves up on the big projects such as “Give a Day”; it’s about joining the dots across Carlisle and Cumbria. We’re business to business, improving the local supply chain, promoting the area, adding value to the community. “The only ego allowed is Carlisle’s ego!”
Fred introduced our business speaker, Brian Richardson. As CEO of H&H Group, he gave us an insight into their history, operations and future plans. We came away with a much better insight into the breadth of their business, and how important it is for Carlisle and the region. Brian also outlined opportunites for local tendering with their exciting development at Rosehill. This site located close to the M6 will provide job opportunities, and regeneration in the area. You can read more about the plans on the H&H news feed here.
“Find your passion, find your project, find your partners” was Andy’s call to action at the meeting in March. Now we start to build this dream into reality, and based on the hundreds of ideas brainstormed at the last event, Andy outlined why this project could be so amazing for the profile of the city, and how to get involved. Miriam then gave a clear brief on meetings to get the project underway. Updates will be given regularly, and please do sign up here to volunteer your support if not already done so.
The elements include DIY SOS, community and health fair, regeneration of the city, and business. Simon Harrison described our aims on business. A way to give our collective expertise to aspiring entrepreneurs. A way to give something back, and support those who need a helping hand to find their next steps. This might be the younger generation, or someone looking to enter self-employment after years working for others. We want to support anyone who wants to work in Carlisle or wider Cumbria, and contribute to the local economy. Let’s keep the talent local and inspire to greater things!
This is a project that we want to shout about, and we will need your help to raise the profile and attract media attention. This will be a flagship for the city, showing what is possible when we all work together for the general good of the city and area. Thank you SO much to you all for the incredible support shown so far. The dream is definitely turning into reality!
Jane Meek, Economic Development Director at Carlisle City Council, gave an overview on developments in the city. “Open for Business, Up for Growth” was the theme. A useful insight into the many opportunities for business in the city. After talking about key projects including Carlisle Airport and Rosehill, Jane talked more about “Digital Carlisle” and improving technology. The growth in housing was also presented, as well as emerging and evolving projects of Enterprise Zone and The Edge Project.
At every meeting, we pick three cards out of “the hat”. Our two showcases at the event were Consulting Cumbria and Laughter Aspirations, and our 2 min business hotspot was Great North Air Ambulance Service. Stacey Hucker gave a great talk on the inspirational work that GNAAS do every day. They rely entirely on fundraising, and work relentlessly to support this vital service. She also mentioned their Big Top Ball.
We were delighted that John Stevenson took time to talk to us about his vision for the future, following his recent re-election as MP for Carlisle. With a strong call for collaboration to ensure we make the most of every business opportunity in the city, and giving support to the Carlisle Ambassadors’ programme in playing its part to raise the profile of the area and make a tangible difference, we look forward to seeing developments over the coming months and continued engagement.
Finally, the Chief Executive of Carlisle City Council Jason Gooding, reiterated why he has such a passion for the success of Carlisle Ambassadors, and why it can make such a difference to our future. Jason brought life to the Carlisle Ambassadors, having seen what other cities do to create that strong and positive link between public and private sector, and he expressed delight in so much support from the wide range of businesses and organisations who are actively engaging with this programme to make Carlisle and Cumbria a better place to live, work, invest and visit.
At the end of the meeting, he presented all new members with their certificates. We now have over 70 members, and more joining all the time. To find out why this can benefit your business, please take a look at our membership page and testimonials from those who have already committed. The potential to make a difference through collaboration is huge, and your part in this is really important. Our next meeting is on July 30th at The Venue, and you can sign up here. Places are going quickly, so please do take a moment to book in, and we will really look forward to seeing you there!