I have been meaning to start this blog for months. Nine months into my role as Assistant Director Regeneration, it’s probably about time to share some thoughts on what we are aiming to achieve.
Introductions first. I am Reniera, the new Assistant Director Regeneration at the Isle of Wight Council. I moved to the Island in 2015 and live in Ryde with my husband, three children, two cats and four fish. I love everything about life on the Isle of Wight and am so excited to be part of the team spear-heading the changes this Island needs to keep moving forward.
In July, we held a really successful launch event that was attended by over 130 people and even drew in some mainland investors. It was brilliant to be sharing the podium with some inspirational speakers and sharing the Council’s ambitions for regenerating the Island’s economy.
In the few years I have been living on or visiting the Island there have already been some seeds of change going in the right direction. Ryde high street for example is much improved on the tired collection of shops that I first saw in the late 2000s. The new Ryde Gateway project aims to continue to improve Ryde as a gateway to the Island with an improved transport interchange and better public realm. New businesses have opened (some have closed) but the opening of Ascensos and Asda brings two big players to the Island and have provided many much needed jobs. We are working on bringing forward a large commercial site in Ryde to encourage businesses to grow and continue to talk to many companies wanting to locate on the Isle of Wight.
If you haven’t been down to Newport Harbour on a Friday recently, you should. Our amazing new street food market is up and running every Friday as part of the wider ambitions to regenerate the Harbour and create a destination location for the County Town.
We’ve seen the Island Free School get rated outstanding by Ofsted and improvements in our primary schools have been excellent. CECAMM has just opened and adds a new string to our already fabulous Further Education bow and we are working with a range of higher education providers to look at how we might provide better access to Higher Education for Island young people and how to attract young people from the mainland to study here. Raising ambitions and levels of educational attainment will go a long way to convincing future organisations we have the skills in the workforce they require.
I shall end of this first instalment with a plea. Find the positives, find the joy in Island life and work with us to help develop the Island of the future; the one we all deserve. The Island of choice as a holiday destination, a place to live, a place to grow your business and a place to enjoy your whole life. Be part of our positive army!