Presentation on theme: "The Watermark, Ivybridge: Meeting Needs, Raising Aspirations, Delivering Results Keith Brown & Angela King Devon Reinvestment Service."— Presentation transcript:
The Watermark, Ivybridge: Meeting Needs, Raising Aspirations, Delivering Results Keith Brown & Angela King Devon Reinvestment Service
Who are we? –Partnership of Devon County Council (Regeneration), Wessex Reinvestment Trust & Business in the Community What do we do? –Assist communities to develop assets: –Community engagement –Partnership Building –Property Development Skills –Finance & Business Planning –Whole Project Management Approach
What is ‘The Watermark’, Ivybridge? Multi-purpose community hub –New 450sqm library –ICT centre/training space –One Stop Info shop/ TIC –Large multi-purpose hall –Meeting rooms –Function catering, bar & cafe –Serviced business space £5m partnership project Completed April 2008
Purpose & Aims –‘Community Anchor’ to act as a ‘focal point’ for local service delivery –Welcoming, bright, family-friendly space –Bring increased footfall into the town –Increase local business confidence & encourage new enterprise –Ultimately, to create a more sustainable, self-sufficient community
Achievement so far…. Outcome: ‘Community Anchor’ / ‘Welcoming, friendly space’ Evidence (April 08-09): –7 day a week usage –>200,000 visitors –161% increase in library visits –573 events/bookings –>30,000 requests for info –Volunteering – ‘Friends of’ group –New local access to services e.g. CAB, new Ivybridge Carers Group
Achievements so far….. Outcome: ‘Increased Business Confidence’ Evidence: –High occupancy rates for Watermark business units –22 FTE posts & numerous p/t posts –Monthly business networking events –Reinvigorated Chamber of Trade –Nearly 50% less empty town centre shops; 13 businesses expanded / improved & 9 new enterprises –£50,000 spend on local food –66% of suppliers within 15 miles Recognised regionally/nationally!
Why has it worked? Strong business case – built on evidence of need Strong & dynamic partnership – vision & determination Strong leadership & project management Pooling of skills & resources Strong PR & marketing message On-going ‘check-back’ & responsiveness throughout design/development & beyond Robust monitoring & evaluation – proving success
Project Origins: Rooted in the Community MCTI Community Plan TOP PRIORITY PROJECT to address: –Exponential population growth – 3,500 in 1970’s to over 12,500 now - plus lack of community facilities & infrastructure –Lack of ‘market town’ presence/ heart & further threats from major new commercial developments –Large rural hinterland with poor access to services –Lack of support for entrepreneurs/business start-ups – affordable premises, training & advice –Lack of opportunities to retain young people/those of employment age However, 3 years of consultation failed at first to attract statutory sector support/investment – needed help to prove the case..
Digging Deeper…. DRS help to uncovered & demonstrate local issues & needs around 5 themes: –Employment prospects & new business ideas –Access to services –Training, learning, new skills –Culture – film, performance, arts, exhibitions –Pride - restoring the heart of ‘our’ market town Explored & tested in variety of ways Detailed feasibility work & options appraisal
Gathering Hard Evidence Demographics of the town held the clues! –e.g. Women returners –e.g. Cultural ‘leak’ Variety of techniques to test suspicions – questionnaires, taster sessions, targeted events…. Pieced together the jigsaw to create the whole picture - convinced funders & the rest is history!
A Lasting Impact/Legacy.. Building for the future – anticipates growth, flexibility of design, state of the art technology Visibility – landmark building, heart of the town, increasing pride & confidence Changing fortunes – a reason to come to/stay in Ivybridge, creating new markets, providing quality facilities & services not previously available, challenging perceptions. In-built sustainability – local involvement/lead, robust monitoring, reduced need to travel. Motivation – for Ivybridge - & elsewhere!
Key Messages for Today Building a clear business case for investment decisions Going beyond / beneath published sources of information DCC as an enabler to help communities to prove that need themselves No blueprint – investment must reflect identified local need/circumstances
Want to find out more? Forthcoming event: Developing Community Assets Next THURSDAY @ THE WATERMARK www.devon.gov.uk/ developingcommunitiesfacilities.htm Email: Reinvest@devon.gov.uk Tel: 01392 382157