This post was written by David Owen, CEO of GFirst LEP. One element of GFirst LEP's Recovery Plan for the county is a promotional campaign to encourage everybody to #ThinkGloucestershire. From staycations to shopping local, help support local businesses within the county.
The county is commencing on a long, complex and difficult journey in a world that has been turned upside down in just a few months. Our draft Local Industrial Strategy published last year, sought to put Gloucestershire ahead of the curve with a focus on; the digital revolution, climate change, protecting nature, improving housing stock and infrastructure. Younger people wanting to live, work and play in Gloucestershire is a key to the county’s success and this too remains highly relevant. However, it is particularly concerning that the 18-24 year old age group are predicted to be the most significantly affected by the economic fallout from the pandemic.
As more companies announce home working policies and close offices, urban dwellers will start to make the move to predominantly rural areas to live, work and play. As well as bringing positive financial benefits to the county it means that “Blended Working”, a mixture of working from home combined with time at a co-working site, will continue to become an accepted and expected form of working. This ambition will need to be supported by the acceleration of broadband delivery and a network of ‘work from anywhere’ locations; private sector, Growth Hubs, local authorities and repurposed commercial office sites.
It's worrying to see that the total number of individuals furloughed in Gloucestershire has increased from 76,300 in June to 89,000 in July. During recession and periods of high unemployment it is usual to see a growth in start-up businesses. This pattern is likely to repeat itself during this recession and possibly to a high degree as working from home becomes more widely spread. We are lucky to have a fantastic Growth Hub network in the county to help these new businesses.
“Think Gloucestershire” is a campaign we would like every Gloucestershire resident to be aware of and think about. Think Gloucestershire means staycations in the county, it means shopping locally and it means businesses buying products and services from other Gloucestershire businesses. You’ll see a couple of our promotional campaign adverts below, we hope you like them and please do help us share the message across all your social media channels.
In this hugely challenging time, the response of our business and wider community has been incredible, and I would like to thank all those who have gone above and beyond in their daily roles.