Latest News | 3 March 2022

‘I don’t believe it!’ You better believe it, Victor!

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.

It may be the onset of age – or perhaps a lack of sleep caused by my six-month old son – but recently I’d found myself turning into Victor Meldrew from One Foot in the Grave.

I’d become increasingly impatient and easily irritated by the most inconsequential things (that’s most people on Twitter some would argue!)

Something as simple as a motorist not indicating at a roundabout could set me off, as could those ridiculously pretentious perfume and aftershave TV ads, which we were bombarded with in the run-up to Valentine’s Day.

According to my wife, my change of mood is related to the recent Derby County crisis. She may well have a point!

Thankfully, there was an event that took place in February that helped restore my usually sunny disposition – the Marketing Derby Annual Business Event.

This annual showcase of Derby and Derbyshire’s achievements over the last 12 months never fails to put a smile back on my face.

To a man, and woman, at the end of each ABE, we all seem to leave the auditorium with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism.

This year was no different. You can get the same feeling yourself by watching this year’s ABE right here.

And if you haven’t got time to watch the whole thing, then I would at least implore you to check out the ‘Dare to Dream’ slot by the fantastic Lesley So from So Good Kombucha. Truly inspirational!

This year’s theme was “Believe” – and in the run up to the event, I helped compile the annual report, which detailed all of the good news stories from 2021.

To be honest, there were so many, I struggled to find the space.

Made and supplied millions of Covid test kits, saw the opening of the world’s largest aero engine test bed, hatched plans to create the city’s largest urban park, won the multi-billion-pound contract to build HS2 trains.

These were just a handful of things Derby achieved in 2021, with a global pandemic providing the backdrop to add into the mix.

But that was 2021. How are things shaping up in 2022? After a bright start in January, momentum continued to build in February – not least in our commercial real estate market.

In February, Innes England released its annual Market Insite report, which showed that despite the challenges presented by Covid, Derby attracted some major investments in 2021. (Read more here.)

Among those key investments was by St. Modwen Logistics, which is investing £46.5 million to create St. Modwen Park Derby – and it was great to see that work on the first buildings had started. (Read more here.)

In 2022, businesses are continuing to invest in Derby and Derbyshire. In February, we had the welcome announcement that meal-kit specialist Hello Fresh had signed up as the first occupier at SmartParc SEGRO Spondon, bringing with it 450 jobs. I’m still waiting for my freebie to be delivered! (Read more here.)

We had the news that housebuilding giant Lovell, part of Morgan Sindall, had chosen Pride Park as the location of its new regional HQ. (Read more here.)

And it was great to see global IT firm Bam Boom Cloud move into their new HQ in the heart of the city centre. (Read more here.)

The move was made possible thanks to support from Derby City Council, Marketing Derby and Staton Young. I hope you’re settling in well, guys.

Another welcome arrival to Derby in February was the British Cycling Team. (Read more here.)

Team GB’s Olympic cycling programme has relocated to the arena while its usual home, the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, undergoes renovation work – and it’s a real pleasure to have them here.

Track cycling is a little bit beyond my physical capabilities these days – I’m more of a gentle stroll around the city kind of guy.

That’s why last summer’s Derby Ram Trail suited me down to the ground – although I do recall there was a team challenge to see who could get around it the fastest.

Marketing Derby entered a team. I can’t remember what feeble excuse I gave at the time for not taking part!

In February, Derby Museums released a report, which showed what impact the Ram Trail had on the city. (Read more here.)

It contributed an astonishing £1.4 million to the local economy – and crucially, was successful in enticing people back into the city centre.

Coming up with new ways to drive footfall is crucial for Derby.

Winning the UK City of Culture 2025 competition would be a massive boost to efforts to encourage more people to visit.

In early February Derby, which is on a longlist of eight, submitted its final bid. (Read more here.)

We should find out whether we have made it through to the next round later this month. Rest assured; we will be keeping everything crossed here at Marketing Derby.

Giving people a reason to come to the city centre is key. Often, it is the interesting independent retailers that can draw people in.

That is a view shared by ALB Group, which has snapped up several buildings in Albion Street. (Read more here.)

Its vision for Albion Street and East Street is to create something similar to London’s Carnaby Street. Now, I’d certainly visit that.

Of course, having a captive audience in the city centre would be an ideal scenario – and the answer could lie in our student community.

In February, the University of Derby unveiled an ambitious masterplan to increase its city centre presence. (Read more here.)

It could see thousands more students descend on the city centre, which would be great for Derby, particularly the evening economy if students are still what they were in my day!

Here, in Derby and Derbyshire, we are lucky to still have some manufacturers who can trace their roots way back.

Among them is Denby Pottery – and it was fantastic to see their skilled workforce in action on an episode of the BBC TV show Inside the Factory. (Read more here.)

The show aired during February, and it is still available on the BBC iPlayer if you want to have a watch. Just click this link.

Another firm with a long and distinguished history is, of course, Rolls-Royce.

However, its focus is very much on the future, not the past, as it continues its mission to make the way we fly, cleaner and greener.

In February, it took another significant step on that path when it confirmed that it had broken the world record for the fastest all-electric flight. (Read more here.)

I’ll drink to that! Speaking of which, we are now able to do so with whisky made by White Peak Distillery.

After many years of waiting for it to age in the barrel, last month the Derbyshire distillery started selling its first batch of bottles. (Read more here.)

Yes, that’s right, a single malt whisky made right here in Derbyshire.

“I don’t believe it!” I can hear Victor say. You better believe it, Victor. Cheers!

Anyway, have a safe and productive March and I look forward to catching up again soon.

Related Articles...

This will close in 0 seconds