It has been an honour and a privilege to have been involved with Nottingham Partners for nine of its ten years. After one Invest in Nottingham Club (as it then was) lunch at Trent Bridge, my first major event was to speak at the Invest in Nottingham day in London in 2011, being the first event to be held in the redeveloped St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, built – appropriately – with Nottingham brick.
As is mentioned elsewhere in this bulletin, none of this would have been possible without the efforts and vision of Jim Taylor, but also the support and commitment of Nottingham’s prominent businesses, and I would like to say thank you to all our members for your support over the years. Furthermore, the support and commitment of Nottingham senior politicians and the city council’s officers has been pivotal.
To single out a few individuals who have been a massive support for me over the years, I would like say big thank yous to Jim Taylor RIP, former chief executives Simon Gray (under whom we won Midlands business Club of the Year in 2015) and Brendan Moffett, Natalie Williams Nottingham Partners’ events manager, and Lorraine Baggs and Leona Bowery from the Invest in Nottingham team. Thanks also to all our former and current board members for your wisdom and guidance over the years, particularly – for your help to me personally – Craig Chettle from Confetti/Antenna, Toby Reid from BioCity, Sean Akins from Bildurn, Stephen Jackson currently at Nottingham BID, and Chris Henning from the city council. I would also like to acknowledge with thanks the support received from the city council, and in particular councillors Mellen, Webster and Ayoola, and former councillors Collins and McDonald, for the Marketing NG/Nottingham Partners project.
I am sure all members will have their own highlights from the numerous and varied events we have held over the years; my own would be the Invest in Nottingham day at St Pancras mentioned above, the naming of a Nottingham/London train “Invest in Nottingham”, my two cycle rides to MIPIM in 2014 and 2015 (945 miles in six days!) and the great networking for the city at and on the way to MIPIM undertaken in those years, together with many of our lunches held at various venues around Nottingham. We have always tried to combine serious and relevant content with an open-minded and appropriately informal (sometimes light-hearted) approach and – for myself – I have enjoyed everything we have done. As Natalie said to me last week “we’ve had fun along the way”.
Beyond our events, I am proud that Nottingham Partners has played its part, with the valuable support of our members including both universities and numerous other city businesses along with our colleagues at Invest in Nottingham, in securing many major new investments leading to the creation of many new jobs in Nottingham over the last 10 years.
However, this is not just a time for reflection, but also a time to look forward to a bright future. As – hopefully – we emerge from the current crisis, I maintain great enthusiasm and great hope for the future of Nottingham. The massive new developments around our city are continuing, and whilst it cannot be said that everything in the garden is rosy for Nottingham or for any other city in the UK in these difficult times, I am confident that Nottingham is better placed that most to emerge as a major driver within the UK economy going forward and as a major destination for investors in and visitors, not to mention a great as a great place to live, work and study. The current development projects and place-making projects, and those that will follow them, should give us great confidence that Nottingham’s future will be bright, particularly as the city starts to link its life, its sense of place, its history and – most importantly – its current cultural offering together more effectively. Bring on the next ten years!