University Boost for Island Businesses

IW Business Boost

Isle of Wight businesses have been given the opportunity to benefit from a free University course that is being brought to the Isle of Wight specifically created for Island businesses.

The University of Portsmouth have teamed up with the Island’s multi-award-winning design studio, Brightbulb Design to bring IW Business Boost to our shores. The course, funded by the Isle of Wight Council, HM Government and the European Regional Development Fund will see up to 120 businesses benefit from workshops and one to one mentoring sessions focussed on their specific business needs.

The course will be delivered on the Isle of Wight by the University and members of the business community and will give each business 12 hours of dedicated support through 4, 2-hour workshops and regular one to one mentoring sessions throughout.

Pete Hooley, Director of Business Development at the University of Portsmouth said,

“We have some outstanding courses for businesses at the University of Portsmouth, however we have found that the stretch of water between Portsmouth and the Island has become a barrier to entry. So, for the first time we have decided to bring the University to the Island, so that Isle of Wight businesses can benefit from what we have to offer.”

The programme has been specifically created for Island businesses to improve productivity and to support their business resilience and growth. The first cohort of businesses, focussing on general business advice starts on the 24th May with the second cohort focussing on digital support starting on the 09/06/22. Dates are yet to be announced for 2 further free courses around tourism and destination management and managing people. To find out more and keep up to date with the latest start dates logon to and register your interest today.

Work to start on East Cowes Columbine Building

February 2022:

Contractors have begun preparing the iconic Columbine Building in East Cowes for the start of a major investment from the Isle of Wight Council supported by the government’s levelling up fund.  

Island-based design consultants ERMC and contractors MCM Construction met Isle of Wight Council officials on site to agree the start of the first big phase of works to the building.

This is expected to see the whole south elevation of the structure restored and weatherproofed as part of the council’s plans to create more working space and jobs in and around the East Cowes Marine Hub.  

Once the windows and sidewall are restored, two whole internal floors of the historic building will be accessible again.

The next phase of the works will be to refurbish the newly-accessible working spaces inside which are currently out of use.  

Starting in March, the first phase of restoration work is expected to finish later this summer, with the internal refurbishment phase coming soon afterwards.  

Contractors meet Isle of Wight Council officials to agree the start of the works to the southern elevation of the Columbine Building. L-R Brendan McMahon from MCM Construction; Alex McMahon from MCM Construction; James Quigley from ERMC; Stuart Sayce from ERMC; Jenny Hyland from IW Council; Claire Elderfield from IW Council.  

Meanwhile, the main tenant of the building, Wight Shipyard Company, has commenced piling works in the nearby harbour to create a new marine hoist dock.

This will allow the company to work on larger vessels, delivering the next generation of sustainable high-speed ferries and crew transfer boats, as well as being available to other marine engineering businesses.

Anyone using the harbour recently will have noticed the large piling vessel working outside the famous Union Flag doors as the new hoist area is created. 

The new structure, supported through the government’s levelling up fund, is likely to be completed in summer 2022.  

Councillor Julie Jones-Evans said: “Our ambitious regeneration package attracted £5.8 million support from the government levelling up fund.

“Getting this funding means a lot to the Isle of Wight, and now we can actually see regeneration work going on at this historic location there’s no doubt that real benefits are coming to the area.

“Seeing this project commence in East Cowes is so exciting, giving renewed confidence for the vital marine industry, providing jobs and skills for a new generation at the East Cowes Marine Hub, and bringing more prosperity and success to the whole Island.”

Soft Market Testing: Shanklin Spa site

The Isle of Wight Council own this prominent seafront site of historical importance which is identified as suitable for redevelopment, and a strategic opportunity to advance the regeneration of the Sandown Bay area. Expressions of Interest are invited from potential buyers or development partners to deliver a high quality, mixed use development of architectural merit which will enhance the character of the Esplanade.

The Isle of Wight Council invites parties to review the development opportunity and submit Expressions of Interest in relation to the delivery of all or part of a scheme for the site.

It is important to note that this is not an offer for sale or invitation to tender, it is strictly an Expressions of Interest exercise to capture market interest via a Prior Information Notice (PIN). Any further decision on development strategy will be subject to the rules associated with a formal procurement process or marketing method.

Expressions of interest must be in by 30/09/2021

Indicative area. Not to scale.

Ryde interchange consultation

Ryde interchange
Ryde interchange

The Ryde Interchange consultation runs for six weeks

from 22 June to 3 August 2021.

In July 2020, we were awarded £10 million from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund. The funding will help to improve Ryde transport interchange.  Much of the project funding is conditional on some specific improvements being made which form the basis of the design. There are also aspects of the final design that can be influenced by the community particularly those that help define the look and feel of the public space. We have launched a consultation to encourage people to share their views on these elements. This will help inform our decision around any final plans.

See the design, and give your feedback on our consultation page.

Go to the consultation page

Medina Valley Marine and Composites Sector Proposition: report

Medina Valley report

The Isle of Wight and in particular, the Medina, has long been seen as a home to all things marine: the invention, construction and only remaining operation of the hovercraft, flying boats and more recently cutting edge foot-passenger ferry manufacture has sat alongside the marine leisure offer epitomised by Cowes.

The well paid skilled jobs provided in the marine industry have kept generations of islanders gainfully employed. The council wants to better understand the marine sector on the Island and the challenges it faces. The Isle of Wight Council’s regeneration team has produced a detailed report on the Medina Valley, focussing on the Marine and Composites Sector.

Medina Valley report

View the report (PDF)

The report will raise the profile of the island contribution to a key sector of the broader Solent economy now and in the future. It sets out the economic benefits the sector provides and highlights the need for modern manufacturing premise to help its future growth.

Key growth opportunities

The expansion of demand for wind farm service boats in the UK and Europe is highlighted as one of the growth opportunities Island firms could exploit. The study assesses the range of sites available in the Medina Valley for the development of new facilities benchmarking against competitors in Norfolk and Pembrokeshire. The level of skills in the industry that exist on the island is highlighted as key strength.

Seeking government funding

The study recommends the council seek funding to address the infrastructure issues connected with some of the existing and potential sites. The report will be used to support a bid for government funding, as part of the islands recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Housing Needs Survey

Earlier this year the council published its corporate plan and within it made a clear commitment to ensuring that “people have a place to call home and can live with independence”. Following publication of the draft Island Planning Strategy for consultation earlier in 2019, there was, and indeed continues to be, significant concern expressed about the number of homes being planned for the Island.

Continue reading “Housing Needs Survey”

Study Isle of Wight: pick up your Higher Education Guide now

Study Isle of Wight
Study Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is a unique location – ideal to live, work, learn and play! Because it’s a great place to live, it’s also a great place to study. The Island is where you can take education to a higher level; whether you’ve already got a job and want to gain a higher education qualification at the same time; if you want to do a higher level or degree level apprenticeship, or if you want to take a full or part time course.

Continue reading “Study Isle of Wight: pick up your Higher Education Guide now”