Partnership Grant Is A ‘Game Changer’ For Islands’ Economy

islands partnership team new brochure 2013A six-figure grant awarded to Scilly’s tourism body is a “game changer” for our islands’ economy.

That’s the view of the Islands’ Partnership.

This morning they’ve announced that their Coordinator Amanda Pender has secured a £202,750 grant from the Coastal Communities Fund that will fund additional staff, facilities and marketing publicity for a host of new festivals and events on the islands.

IP Executive Director David Jackson, who joined from a similar role in Bath just before Christmas, is convinced that events are a proven and effective driver of tourism.

And he believes that an extended events programme in Scilly will encourage visitors and also enable businesses across the islands to enjoy a greater share of the UK tourism market.

The Islands’ Partnership already hosts the successful Walk Scilly event, which they inherited from the previous organisers two years ago. They extended it last year with a shorter autumn programme of walks.

Recently they’ve developed new attractions of their own, which have proved hugely popular amongst visitors and locals. The Russell Kane Comedy night and Christmas late night shopping festival were both highly acclaimed and well attended by locals and visitors.

This funding means there’ll be more events like these.

The project will be known as ‘Scilly Events’ and it allows the IP to fund two, full-time new positions for event organisers. They’ll be in post between 1st April this year and the New Year of 2017.

Part of the six-figure grant will also pay for marketing and equipment. IP management says that the initiative will offer “opportunities for business development, diversification and expansion.”

Ten jobs will also be created indirectly because of this project, according to the IP

Amanda, who wrote the winning bid, says she’s delighted that the project application was successful and she’s grateful to the Coastal Communities Fund.

She believes that the funding represents “a game changer” for Scilly’s tourism and business sector as the islands now have a dedicated resource to develop fully an annual events programme, “which is every bit as rich and unique as our natural environment.”

Tourism remains by far the most important source of employment and income on the islands and accounts for around 85% of our economy.

Last year the islands’ Council chose to end its long involvement with the sector when it put the Tourist Information Centre out to tender. There were, however, no applicants to whom the Council could contract the service.

The Town Hall is now concentrating economic development activities on diversification away from tourism, including the encouragement of entrepreneurs who could relocate now we have superfast broadband.

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