Latest News | 13 April 2023

How Derby is adopting a ‘play to win’ attitude

Rail Forum
Derby City Council
DCG (Derby College Group)
University of Derby
Wavensmere Homes
Derby County Football Club
Clowes Developments
Share this post:

Here, in his latest monthly column reflecting on the news over the past month, our Press and PR Executive Robin Johnson looks at the headlines.

To this day, I can remember the words of one of my old PE teachers ringing in my ears: “There’s no point in playing the game if you’re not going to be competitive”.

It is something that has stayed with me – and, at certain times in my life, put into practice.

Okay, so I admit I possibly overstepped the mark at my one-year-old’s recent Easter egg hunt when I decided to take charge of the basket and map (he wanted to just chew on them anyway).

But the result was a basketful of chocolate goodies – winner, winner Easter chick(en) dinner.

In the past couple of years, Derby has played the game – putting itself forward for things like the UK City of Culture and the new home of Great British Railways (GBR).

And it has shown itself to be remarkably competitive.

For example, we made the final eight in the UK City of Culture competition – an excellent showing considering the city only bid for it at the last minute.

Then, in March, Derby went a step further and landed GBR.

They say you should never count your chickens until they hatch – an appropriate phrase for this time of year.

But I had a good feeling about the GBR bid, despite the strength of the competition, which included Birmingham, Newcastle and York.

Derby is home to one of the largest clusters of rail-related firms in the world, many of whom are members of the Rail Forum, an organisation who will play an important role going forward as we plan for GBR’s impending arrival.

I was proud to play a small part in the GBR success – working with partners including Derby City Council and the irrepressible Rupert Brennan-Brown on the comms strategy.

Apparently, Derby was the hot favourite right from the outset – and the public vote that followed – which Derby also won – simply served as the icing on the cake.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – when Derby folk recognise a good cause they get behind it.

And it was fitting that Derby College Group’s Roundhouse – a building steeped in our rail heritage – was selected for the formal announcement by Transport Secretary Mark Harper.

Derby College Group was just one of the GBR bid’s many local supporters – but the truth is, support for Derby’s bid came from across the region.

Yes, when it comes to attracting inward investment, the likes of Nottingham and Leicester are Derby’s competitors – but occasionally, there are times when we work together for the good of the region.

I suppose you could liken it to professional footballers at different football clubs.

On a Saturday afternoon, they could be playing on opposing sides in a domestic match – and then the following week, lining up alongside one another on international duty.

Talking of international duty, in March, the investment team here at Marketing Derby were on foreign shores pitching Derby to investors at MIPIM.

Taking place in Cannes, in the south of France, MIPIM is regarded as the world’s largest property investment fair.

For those rolling their eyes thinking, oh Cannes, that sounds like a tough gig, I’ll stop you there – it really is a tough gig!

Team Derby had a very busy week in MIPIM, wooing investors, holding important meetings, attending and hosting events, while covering several miles on foot in the process. My feet are aching just thinking about it!

This year, Derby’s pitch was very much focused on city centre developments – among them, the University of Derby’s Business School and wider city campus master plan.

Happily, ahead of MIPIM, the university announced it had already raised £70 million towards the project, which is a fantastic start to this ambitious project.

Team Derby went to MIPIM promoting the city as the UK Capital for Innovation – a moniker that it consistently lives up to.

For example, while our team was in MIPIM, across the world in San Diego it was announced that Rolls-Royce’s defence business, based in Derby, had been selected to supply the reactor cores to power a fleet of new nuclear submarines for Australia.

This was a major international story – and the timing was perfect, particularly when you’re at a major property investment show trying to impress investors with all things Derby.

Rolls-Royce really is the company that keeps on giving when it comes to worthy headline grabbing business stories.

For example, in March, the firm’s Rolls-Royce SMR business announced that it had signed an agreement, which could see it supply small nuclear power stations to Ukraine, when it looks to rebuild after the war ends.

Rolls-Royce is a global company, but why stop at just providing technology for us here on earth? The simple fact is the company isn’t.

In March, we had the really fascinating story about Rolls-Royce developing nuclear reactors to provide power for the exploration of the Moon.

The technology would be used to help provide power to a future moon base, so astronauts could live on the lunar surface.

Back here on Earth, the former Derbyshire Royal Infirmary site once resembled the surface of the Moon, after the majority of its buildings were flattened.

That was until Wavensmere Homes came onto the scene – and started to develop the remarkable Nightingale Quarter residential scheme.

It is a really high-quality development, reflected in the brisk uptake of properties by buyers.

Buoyed by this response, Wavensmere is continuing to work at pace on the development, with the apartments now being showcased.

Of course, March saw the latest edition of Marketing Derby’s Innovate magazine flop onto our doormats.

Have you read your copy yet? If not, you should do. It’s an absolute cracker.

Amongst the many highlights is an exclusive interview with Derby County owner David Clowes, of Clowes Developments.

It’s a really fascinating and revealing interview that is well worth a read.

You can read the latest edition here.

At the time of writing, the Rams remain in the hunt for a League One play-off spot – but after a remarkable unbeaten run, they had something of a wobble in March.

Maybe I should ask the club if my old PE teacher can come in and give them a pep talk?

Anyway, have a safe and productive April – what’s left of it – and I look forward to catching up again soon.

Related Articles...

This will close in 0 seconds