It is not often you get to promote your own town on a national scale, but yesterday in London, I did just that. Cornwall Council was invited along with two other local authorities, Great Yarmouth and Scarborough, to present case studies on their coastal communities to the Coastal Communities Seminar. This was being hosted by The Government Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Also attending this seminar was the Secretary of State for DGLG, Eric Pickles MP, Mark Prisk MP, Minster for Business, a whole host of MP’s and other Government and Local Authority officials.
We all know Cornwall has a massive coastline, with many settlements along it, but sometimes we can forget the whole country is surrounded by coastline. So Cornwall is not unique in problems that are facing coastal communities. The Government has realised this threat to these communities and has set up a fund called the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) to try to tackle some of the issues. This year, the CCF has £18m allocated to it, and earlier in the year invited coastal communities to submit bids to this fund. I have submitted a bid by working with a dedicated team drawn from the community.
At yesterday’s seminar, I along with Chris Ridgers, Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy, Sandra Rothwell, Head of Economic Development at Cornwall made a presentation to those gathered showing the good work that has already been carried out by Cornwall Council from the Seaside Town Program and other projects. However, it was not only about highlighting the good stuff, but the need for more funding from funds like CCF.
Our presentation used Porthleven as a case study. The message from this part of the presentation was Porthleven is more than a picture postcard. Scratch under the surface and away from the picaresque views, Porthleven is in need of funding to solve various issues. In my presentation I highlighted that 37% of the population have no formal qualification. We also need to reduce the number of 18-24 year olds on Job Seekers Allowance, which is currently 30% from recent figures I obtained. I also highlighted low wages, but high house prices and rents. These issues and others can be addressed if Porthleven has some targeted funding.
I emphasized funding from CCF can really make a difference not only to Porthleven, but other coastal towns and villages that face similar problems. I hope, Chris’, Sandra’s and my presentation highlighted Cornwall and Porthleven’s need. It might just convince those Government Minster’s and officials attending the seminar to award some funding from the CCF.
For me, it was well worth the 17 hour day to put forward our case. So, fingers crossed!