A welcome back note from our Chairman, Paul Southby

The following note was added to our fortnightly newsletter on 4th September 2020:

It’s the time of year when I might normally say that it’s great to see the Nottingham Partners newsletter back after a short summer break, and to welcome members back after the summer holidays. I can still say those things of course, but what a different summer it has been for all of us! Like me, I am sure many members will still be working largely from home, and that those of you who have returned to the workplace will find it a very different place to the one you vacated back in March. Life has been inevitably complicated and difficult for many of us over the last six months or so, although I hope that you will all have found something positive and uplifting to balance that off, perhaps via the brilliant output from many of Nottingham’s fantastic cultural organisations and venues, who have found creative and engaging ways to keep us entertained throughout lockdown and beyond. In times like these, we are fortunate to live in a city with such a strong creative strand in its DNA.

I know that many member businesses will have suffered significantly as a result of the sharp economic downturn during lockdown, and certain sectors have been hit particularly hard. I hope that going forward we will all feel able to support each other in recovery, and I suggest that one way of doing so is to trade with local partners and support local businesses whenever we reasonably can. I know that our colleagues at Nottingham BID, and at the Creative Quarter Company, both of whom have done great work during lockdown, would support me in that.

I hope that those of you who attended our three online events during lockdown found them helpful, and I am looking forward to our next two sessions in the coming weeks. Firstly a city update where – in only his second week in post – Nottingham City Council’s new chief executive Mel Barrett will introduce himself and participate in a Q&A alongside Chris Henning who will update us on developments, both economic and structural, across the city. Secondly, a session focussing on the recently created Nottingham Economic Growth Board, where it’s chair, Nick Ebbs, and other board members will tell members about the board, its remit and its current activity. I know that Nick has been particularly busy lobbying government on Nottingham’s behalf over the last few months. Full details of these events can be found later in this newsletter.

We will have representation from our city council at both events mentioned above, and it would be remiss of me not to mention the good work our local authorities have undertaken on all our behalves over recent months in circumstances where adequate funding to keep the city’s people and our place safe has not been available to them. I think our local authorities have done a good job throughout all of this. It is often easy to be critical and to suggest a better way, but I think that across the entire spectrum of our society, we have all have been and still are learning how to deal with what has been put in front of us, and I think we have to accept that sometimes we will all get something wrong. The important thing is to continue to learn and to strive to make things better.

Although Nottingham is facing a portfolio of challenges of its own at present – not least Broadmarsh, which I am sure will come up in the presentations and Q&A at our events – there is good reason to be optimistic about the city’s future. Looking across the south side of the city as I write this during a rare visit to my office, I see the nearly completed college site, the Unity Square development taking shape, the Castle development which is still on track for a Spring 2021 launch, the Broadmarsh car park/library project coming along, and in the distance The Island Quarter site where development is starting to move ahead. Clearly, we need to maintain momentum, and I cannot think of a better time to welcome a new chief executive to the City Council who has significant experience and interest in regeneration and inward investment.  I am confident that all members of Nottingham Partners will join me in that.

I look forward to welcoming all members to our events over the coming months, and wish you all good fortune as we move forward.

Best wishes,

Paul Southby

Chairman, Marketing Nottingham