Coast to Capital Chair, Julie Kapsalis welcomed guests by highlighting the resilience and determination of partners in recent months, working together to leverage support and investment against the challenging backdrop of COVID-19. Julie also reinforced her commitment to supporting the economic and social recovery of the disproportionality affected Coast to Capital region, in a sustainable and inclusive way.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, successes from the past year were showcased, including:
- Over 2,500 business support enquiries triaged
- £4 million emergency COVID-19 support funding distributed to over 200 SMEs
- The Skills Action Plan and Careers Hub were launched, helping support and improve young people's career development
- The COVID-19 Economic Impact Dashboard was launched, which offers a detailed insight into the full economic impacts of the pandemic
Julie drew attention to the many successes from 2020/2021 which are available to read in the newly published Annual Report.
Attendees also heard from Board Member Claire Mason, on progress with Coast to Capital's ambition to build back stronger, smarter and greener. To build back stronger, Coast to Capital have supported Crawley with the ongoing delivery of several infrastructure projects including the Gatwick airport railway transformation and phase 3 of the Crawley Growth Programme, improving sustainable transport options around the Manor Royal Business Improvement District.
To build back smarter, Coast to Capital is supporting the bid to establish an Institute of Technology in the Coast to Capital region led by Chichester College Group with Universities of Brighton and Sussex and NESCOT. The bid has made it through the first stage and if successful will create a new state-of-the-art hub at Crawley College, housing engineering and digital ‘Learning Factories’ with specialist satellites for delivery at locations right across the region, From East Surrey and Gatwick Diamond to rural West Sussex and coastal communities.
To build back greener, Coast to Capital is actively developing an offer of support to major regional opportunities including net zero projects such as ‘Hydrogen Sussex’, green hydrogen generation and application in transport and other sectors (led by Greater Brighton members) and ‘Sussex Bay’ marine park, stretching the breadth of the county, restoring kelp beds and promoting the marine economy (led by Adur & Worthing Councils).
A number of key stakeholders joined Coast to Capital Board Member, Richard Hopkins to share success stories from support provided by the LEP, ranging from free business support, funding and skills provision. This included an update from the innovative training provider Acceler8, which received a Backing Business Grant fund from Coast to Capital to help mitigate impact of COVID-19.
Julie Kapsalis, Coast to Capital Chair said:
“Our team and the Board here at Coast to Capital continue to be dedicated and passionate about delivering our vision to build back stronger, smarter and greener - working with our partners to make a difference to people and places and ensuring that our region is a fantastic place to live, grow and succeed.
I remain committed to leading a LEP that makes bold decisions, aspires to be best in class as well as securing a brilliant future for the region and our future generations.”
Anthony Middleton, Coast to Capital Acting Chief Executive said:
“You have heard about some of our achievements and impact, but as a LEP, we face uncertain times ahead, with the Government currently conducting their LEP review. However, I am sure of one thing, and that is; despite this review, we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that we work tirelessly to continue to support our regional economy, its businesses and our secondary schools, the later through our pioneering careers education work.”
Acting Chief Executive at Coast to Capital, Anthony Middleton concluded the event by highlighting the new consultancy function. This offer is rooted in a series of services that centre around Coast to Capital’s not-for-profit status, which support both private and public sector partners. The services that are now being delivered as part of this offer range from complex regeneration and property business case development, through to assisting with the Community Infrastructure Levy distribution.
If you would like to know more about the consultancy service, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and more information will be published on the LEP website in the coming weeks. If you would like to watch the AGM, the recording is available on the Coast to Capital YouTube channel.