On Friday I had the pleasure of opening the Forest of Dean Growth Hub at Vantage Point Business Village in Mitcheldean. This new site, a flagship project of GFirst LEP and part of Gloucestershire’s Growth Hub Network, will enable local businesses to grow. The Hub boasts impressive modern workspaces including incubation offices, co-working, hot desking and breakout spaces, starting from as little as £15 a month. But the Hub is more than just a workspace; expert support is on hand for small and medium sized businesses including one-to-one sessions, sector specific events run by local experts, workshops and networking opportunities.
The Growth Hub network already serves 26,000 businesses and will now support even more in the Forest, spurring local investment and job opportunities. I would encourage any new or prospective business looking for a professional, flexible workspace, and expert guidance, to explore what the new growth hub has to offer them.
Promoting local innovation and investment is something I am equally focused on in my parliamentary work. I have used my role as Chair of the South West Group of Conservative MPs, a group that consists of 48 of the region’s 55 MPs, to represent the interests of the Forest of Dean and the wider South West region directly to the Chancellor. I met with Rishi Sunak in Parliament a few weeks ago, and again virtually this Monday, during which time we had productive discussions about a number of local priorities. I took these opportunities to make the case for the Forest of Dean’s fantastic ‘levelling up bid’ which would see investment in sport facilities at Five Acres, regeneration work in Cinderford town centre and a state-of-the-art University Innovation, Careers and Enterprise Learning Centre in Hartpury.
I expressed how important it is that the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda (something I wholly support) focuses on the whole of the UK, including the South West. I was pleased that the Chancellor recognises the importance of promoting skills and infrastructure projects in all regions of the UK and look forward to his Autumn budget later this month.