What a long cold winter it has been so far, and we still have a long way to go! But fear not, we are already looking forward to summer and hopefully an influx of visitors.
Participating with the Market Town Welcome initiative, we have been looking at ways of bringing in more tourists by offering something a little different from the usual seaside experience.
By doing a ‘mental’ mapping exercise (in other words I sat and thought about it) it occurred to me that we have so many businesses offering a wide range of services, that if we linked them up with local B&B’s we could offer a unique holiday package.
All too often we are tied up in the day to day running of our respective organisations that we don’t see beyond the obvious. What if – we brought several businesses together to create workshops that expand on what they already do.
For example you could go fishing with a local fisherman, take your catch to the fish filleting school to learn how to prepare it and then to a restaurant to learn new methods of cooking and presentation.
You could learn how to make ice-cream, chocolates, jewellery, recover furniture, flower arranging, learn to surf , even learn how to wall paper and internal decorating – the list is actually quite long, if you let your imagination loose. And I have! So all you unsuspecting businesses out there if you would like to discuss further, please get in touch and we will arrange a series of meetings to see how we can take this forward, but we need your enthusiasm and drive.
If we can market the town as a holiday destination, rather than a day trip or used as a gateway to other areas, there is nothing to lose and everything to gain. By increasing business in the town, in turn, hopefully, we can increase job opportunities – it is up to us to help ourselves.
Work on the Co-Op shop front has been further delayed because of the weather, but should begin again very soon – fingers crossed! Our application for interior work has been submitted – fingers crossed again!! If successful we hope to be able to create three units altogether, one to be retained by the Trust and the other two will be rented out.
I mentioned in the last edition that our funding for the Pavilion had been turned down which scuppered plans to carry out a complete refurbishment. However, some valiant volunteers have come forward to assist and with a small pot of money we are hoping to do a mini makeover. If we can make the building watertight and secure, with a new roof and windows, we may only have sufficient in the pot to give the building a lick of paint and a few tiles but it will be more user friendly than it currently is. Then perhaps more groups will be interested in using the facilities.
Many of you will have heard that there have been a few issues that need to be resolved between the owners of Longbenton Foods and the Administrators. At the Trust we have been in contact with Northumberland County Council to try to determine what is happening, not least of all because many employees have called at the office unsure of what they need to do or where they stand.
I can only inform everyone that NCC believe everything should be sorted out within the next few weeks. For the sake of the town we sincerely hope so, although I understand this will be of little comfort to those who are not sure whether they are still employed.
Before I go and as this is a Valentine edition, I hope all you lovely ladies get your share of red roses, but you have to remember to show your appreciation back. I’ll leave that one with you!
Director, Amble Development Trust