Saturday, 30 November 2013

Tasty future for Chesterfield

The Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards certainly did what they set out to do – put the town’s hospitality sector in the spotlight. Not only did the awards unite our thriving hospitality sector, they showcased the up and coming talent emerging from Chesterfield College as the students catered for the ceremony. And delicious it was too.

The town really embraced its first ever Food and Drink Awards. We had no shortage of nominations, sponsors and contributors, all keen to make it a success. There really was something for everyone, right down to the table decorations on the night which were supplied by local artist and Chesterfield Champion Clare Gage. The entire project has once again showed how the people of Chesterfield really care about the success of the town and want to be part of it.

More importantly, I would like to think that the awards sent a very clear message to young people about the opportunities that exist right here in Chesterfield. They were able to see for themselves that we have a thriving hospitality sector ready and willing to offer careers to young people. The best restaurants and hotels are not in the cities, they are now right here on our own doorstep and represent an opportunity to retain our home-grown talent.

The town now has more choice than ever for places to eat and drink. In November alone we welcomed the Market Plaza Café to the newly refurbished Market Hall as well as The Wingerworth Pub & Kitchen on the outskirts of Chesterfield. If dining out is a marker of a town’s economy, then ours is booming. We got the opportunity to shout about our success to major retailers and property developers, which was hosted by Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins recently at the Houses of Parliament.

The event showcased the town’s potential to retailers and developers in order to attract new investments and present Chesterfield as the place to be for business development and job opportunities.

Yes, we have attracted some big retailers to the town, Hobbycraft and Asda Living being the latest names to join the Ravenside Retail Park, but we must not rest on our laurels. We have a future generation of workers to think about providing jobs and homes for.

Having seen for myself the talented young people training at Chesterfield College I, for one, do not want to lose them from our local economy due to lack of opportunity. I am confident however, that together, we can build a sustainable and very bright future for Chesterfield.

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