This is my latest article in Island Magazine (April Edition) – See link above.
The recent news that the old Packs building on Cross Street and top of Union Street has received investment of £2 Million plus from the Arts Council to convert to an arts centre/venue, is fantastic. It is the latest in a range of initiatives and projects inspired/supported by Ryde Town Council and local residents/organisations.
Investment and Jobs
My calculation is since 2019, Ryde has seen and seeing outside investment of over £15Million plus coming into the Town. This investment and transformation will give the private sector confidence to invest in the Town as well. We are already seeing new shops, businesses, expansion of existing businesses and community enterprises such as Shademakers (Packs building), Pickle & Dill and Monkton Arts Centre and Café. This all creates an atmosphere of enthusiasm, creativity, hope, and opportunity. Ryde Town Council has started to borrow at low interest rates to invest in the Town such as Ryde Harbour. This in turn enables match funding to come in from other sources. This investmentis creating new facilities and jobs. During Covid, RTC launched a Kick-Start young person’s employment scheme with Government funding which has created 20 plus jobs for local young people. A good example was a young man who has been trained by Grace’s Bakery and now has a full-time job.
Banners, Ryde Marina and Joyful Walk along the Esplanade
From 1st April, RTC will take over the ownership and management of Ryde Harbour (renaming it Ryde Marina) and Eastern Gardens. In 2021, RTC invested in and established a beach operation and put beach equipment including deck chairs back on Ryde beaches. In 2022, there is investment into the Ryde Marina so it develops and grows. This is an amazing achievement when you go back to 2018 and Ryde TC objected to IW Council plans to sell the harbour to a dredging company. It demonstrates how RTC has moved from a minor player to the unitary authority, IW Council, to not only an equal partner but a lead player. RTC is more and more in the driving seat and leading the way in Ryde. New banners designed by local artists will provide colour on your walks on the esplanade and with the Appley sink hole repaired a walk along the esplanade this summer will be a joy.
Events – New and Old
Ryde has a history of events from April to October and sadly these events were reduced greatly and many cancelled over last two years due to Covid19 but 2022 will see not only the established events coming back bigger and better, but new events such as the start of the final leg of the biggest cycling event in UK, the Tour de Britain. The Mardi Gras, Ryde Carnival, IW Pride, Classic Cars, Scooter Rally, Rowing Regatta, IW Harp Festival and much more will not only bring joy but visitors/tourists pouring money into the Ryde economy.
Recognising those who make Ryde great!
RTC last year established an Annual Honours event to thank and celebrate all the local residents and organisations who/which supported others during Covid19. In 2022, during Queen’s Jubilee) there will a further event including honouring 7 local residents born before 1952 (one for each decade of the Queen’s reign – Ryde’s magnificent 7) who have contributed to the growth of the Town. There will be awards for those born after 1952 as well. Please consider nominating a person you feel needs to be thanked and recognised.
Finally, there is a Town Annual Meeting and a two-day Forward Ryde event on the 13/14th May 2022 in the Town centre where there will be presentations and exhibitions celebrating and showcasing all projects, innovations, and developments in the Town (details to be shortly publicised). I do love Ryde.