Latest News | 31 August 2022

Outside the box thinking continues to move Derby forwards

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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.

Is it in that box? No. Well, what about that box over there? It’s not in that one either.

You may well ask what’s going on here.

No, it’s not an episode of Deal or No Deal. Myself and my family recently moved house, and we are still in the process of unpacking all our worldly possessions.

Moving house is not a great deal of fun, is it? For me, it’s up there with wisdom tooth extraction.

However, due to unexpected growth at Johnson Family Plc over the past 12 months (the arrival of our baby son Seth), we’ve had no choice but to find larger ‘premises’.

The plans of our company chairman (my wife) are ambitious – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Colour schemes, curtains, furniture and accessories, have already been planned with military precision and in some cases, purchased.

The only snag is, we can’t remember which box some of this stuff is in, hence our frantic search from box to box.

One organisation I hope will be going through the same process of unpacking boxes in Derby is Great British Railways.

The city is now anxiously waiting for the decision from the Department for Transport about where GBR will be based, after a public vote involving the shortlisted locations closed in August.

The campaign to encourage people to vote for Derby had a fantastic response. (Read the full story here.)

Now, all we can do is wait patiently at the platform, where hopefully the ‘GBR express’ will pull up!

Of course, the decision is now in the lap of the gods.

Something that didn’t do Derby’s cause any harm at all was a programme that aired on the box (see what I did there?) in early August before the public vote closed.

It saw our very own train-maker Alstom take a starring role on the BBC’s Inside the Factory, as host Gregg Wallace found out how the firm makes electric trains at its Derby site. (Read the full story here.)

It was a brilliant advert for our rail capabilities – and is still available to view on the BBC’s iPlayer if you want to take a look.

From Inside the Factory, to thinking outside the box, in these testing economic times, it is vital that Derby, as a city, continues to come up with fresh ideas about how to attract investment – the GBR bid being a prime example.

Another idea is to bring top cycling events to the city.

In August, it was announced that Derby would be putting itself forward to host some major cycling competitions, including the Tour of Britain. (Read the full story here.)

These events would bring sizeable economic benefits – and Marketing Derby is fully behind the city’s bid.

It is often said that when Rolls-Royce is doing well, Derby is doing well – after all, they are our largest private sector employer.

In August, the company announced its half-year results, with boss Warren East saying the firm had made “good progress” despite the global challenges. (Read the full story here.)

Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce’s commitment to Derby for the long-term remains seemingly undimmed.

This is reflected in the company’s creation of the Nuclear Skills Training Academy, which is set to welcome its first cohort of apprentices this month. (Read the full story here.)

Another Bondholder which has reaffirmed its commitment to the city is Derbion.

If you’ll pardon the pun, it is putting its money where its mouth is by investing over £2 million in its food court. (Read the full story here.)

On the subject of food, in August, Marketing Derby announced the finalists for this year’s Food and Drink Awards, which take place in October. (Read the full story here.)

As someone who has been living on takeaways and eating out ever since we moved house, my love and respect for these establishments has grown!

Well done to all our finalists – and if you want to come along to the awards ceremony itself, visit

Awards season has well and truly started, with August seeing a flurry of shortlists announced for various local and regional gongs.

One of the most popular sets of awards each year is East Midlands Chamber’s Derbyshire Business Awards.

And it was great (although not surprising) to see so many of our Bondholders among the finalists. (Read the full story here.)

Among the companies to feature prominently on the numerous awards shortlists which came out in August was St James Securities, the company driving the £200 million regeneration of Becketwell.

Deservedly so. If you have been down Victoria Street recently, you will see just how fast the first phase is starting to take shape.

In August a topping out ceremony took place to mark The Condor – the name of the apartments being built there – reaching its highest point. (Read the full story here.)

At 11 storeys high, it is certainly impressive – although as someone with vertigo, I was somewhat relieved I wasn’t invited along to the topping out ceremony.

According to my Marketing Derby colleagues who did go along, the apartments are impressive.

And if any of you reading this are thinking of moving to one of those 259 apartments, I have some boxes you can have!

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

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