Last Friday I met with Edna Delaney and members of the team at the Romney Resource Centre, in Mountfield Road, New Romney. The Centre provides training opportunities for people from across Romney Marsh, and further afield. There is a growing recognition of the quality of the work they do, and it is excellent that we have such a facility on the Marsh. The increasing focus on lifelong learning and retraining, as a result jobs and the skills they require changing too, will make centres like this even more important in the future. The Romney Resource Centre and the Romney Marsh Business centre, have also been vital to the success of many start up businesses in the area. The creation of new businesses, often by people who have not taken that step before, has been one of the great success stories of the recovery of the economy locally, since the recession. If anything, there is now a shortage of business incubation and development space, because what we have, including new units created in the last few years, are now full. This is a good problem to have, but underlines the importance of creating new space for businesses to work from. This weekend, the Romney Marsh Business Centre is hosting a two-day weaving course in conjunction with Romney Tweed. Romney Tweed, is a community interest company established by Pat Alston, with the aims of producing textiles from the Romney sheep that graze on the marshes, but also to support the development of new employment skills for local people. The weaving course, which is I’m afraid fully booked, will give people an introduction to this craft. If you are interested in finding our more about this, the sessions run in the business centre at Unit 12, Mountfield Road, New Romney, from 9.30am to 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
Skills training is vital for the local economy, and not just to provide opportunities for people looking to start their career, or take it in a new direction. It is important that local businesses have access to the workers they need, and with the right level of skills. There are growing numbers of opportunities for people looking to work in sectors like construction, care services and the hospitality industry, and if anything, employers are often struggling to find enough of the people they need, to fill the vacancies they have.
Last week I also met with the Reverend Dave Barker from the Cheriton Baptist church. Alongside its core mission the church is involved with an extensive programme of youth work in the community it serves. Rev Barker also co-ordinates the Street Pastor programme that helps people who get into difficulties late at night in the town centre. This important work not only helps to protect vulnerable people, but also supports the resident community in the Old Town and Harbour areas, by diffusing potentially difficult situations.