New group aims to give Peak business a voice

Jim Harrison, the chair of the newly formed Business Peak District
Jim Harrison, the chair of the newly formed Business Peak District

Businesses of all sizes in the Peak District are being given a new voice with the creation of a group to promote the area as a place to do business.

Called Business Peak District the group will be led by a wide range of representatives from the business community. It will represent all businesses in the area covered by the Peak District National Park and the High Peak, Staffordshire Moorlands and Derbyshire Dales districts or boroughs.

All businesses are being invited to join an event to find out about the group and its plans at Thornbridge Hall, near Great Longstone, on Monday 16 May.

The group hopes to:

lCreate and protect jobs

Increase investment in the area and local businesses

lUse the special environment of the national park as a positive tool to boost the marketing and success of businesses

lDevelop more apprenticeship and training opportunities to give businesses the skilled workforces they need and local people jobs

lIncrease the range of businesses so the area’s economy is not just dependent on tourism and agriculture

lLink with the tourism sector to make the most of business opportunities created by visitors

lGive businesses a voice with the six new Local Enterprise Partnerships, set up in neighbouring cities and areas to help support the regional economy.

Jim Harrison, managing director of Thornbridge Brewery, has been appointed chair of the group and is looking to generate interest from a wide range of business people representing all the companies that operate in the national park and surrounding areas.

He said; “This group will give a voice to every Peak District business no matter what the size.

“Due to its rural location many Peak District businesses employ less than 10 people but when you add them together that creates a significant amount of jobs and the wages of those staff support local communities.

“Business people will lead the group and work with local authorities to give businesses a voice in the way the economy is developing. So I would urge all businesses, no matter how big or small, to get involved, make their voice heard and help make the Peak District a better place for people to come and do business.”

Business Peak District will be supported by the Peak District National Park Authority, Derbyshire Dales District Council, High Peak Borough Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council. It will work closely with the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce and the Derbyshire Economic Partnership.

The group will also link in with Visit Peak District and Derbyshire, the official tourist board for the area and the University of Derby and other skills training providers.

David James, chief executive of Visit Peak District and Derbyshire, said: “The Peak District has been selected by VisitEngland as a Destination of Distinction, which means that the area will be heavily promoted to visitors.

“This offers opportunities for us to showcase local businesses to visitors from across Britain and abroad. By working together, we can develop the area as a prime tourism destination, with the knock-on benefits that brings to the local economy.”

The University of Derby at Buxton has joined the group to assist with efforts to offer apprenticeships and other skills training to Peak District businesses.

Dean Dr Peter Dewhurst said: “Skills training is essential for the future success of any business.

“We believe Business Peak District can play a crucial role in equipping rural businesses with the ability to train their staff and introduce apprenticeships.

“In turn this will ensure that our local businesses have trained staff which will enable them to compete with companies based in bigger towns and cities.”

Places at the launch event on May 16 can be booked by contacting Belinda Wybrow at belinda.wybrow@peakdistrict.gov.uk or by visiting the Business Peak District website at www.businesspeakdistrict.co.uk