MICHAEL LILLEY

Taking Action

for Communities and Environment

Investment in the Young People of Ryde!

March 31, 2023
Source ? - Ryde Councillors presenting cheque £578,557 to Network Ryde young persons

I am so proud of Network Ryde and the Ryde Town Council team in this fantastic achievement in being awarded £578,000 which is groundbreaking on so many. This was a team effort of Ryde young people, Network Ryde staff and management committee, RTC back office RTC leadership team and councillors. It showed tat by being committed to Ryde, young people and working together what could be achieved. This provides a platform for other projects and shows Ryde Town Council has the infrastructure to bid directly for funding and be less reliant on IW Council. RTC is not a junior partner to IW Council but within Ryde a trailblazer, pioneer, and leader. We learn from each stage of development and upskill so we can achieve the next goal. Projects like this need a committed leader and I wish to thank Bex Edmonds, Network Ryde’s committed manager because with her fortitude, hard work, courage, enthusiasm and commitment, this project would not be starting. Bex represents the incredible talent now within Ryde Town Council. She has an amazing team with her and some very talented young people. Only 18% of Ryde’s and IW’s population is aged under the age of 18, whilst nearly 30% is aged of 65, like myself. We oldies need to support our children and grandchildren as if we do not they will leave when adults. The priority for Ryde has to be young people. The beauty of this project was it is intergenerational and combining the future of young people with preserving and celebrating our heritage by bringing back an empty church (the first built in Ryde) into community use that supports future generations. A fantastic achievement!

Groundbreaking opportunity for young people: Network Ryde awarded £578k Youth Investment Fund Grant (onthewight.com)

I wish to also thank Malcolm Ross ( far left dressed in Orange) who is Chair of Network Ryde who quietly support Bex and her team behind the scenes. In 2016/17, Malcolm and I along with former Cllr Tim Wakeley (who led on the formation of Network Ryde) stepped forward when when IW Council decided to cut youth services across the Island. We said no and RTC decided to form a new bespoke youth service and the rest is history. In 2020, at the height of Covid-19, RTC decided to purchase St. Thomas as we felt that we needed to invest in the young people of Ryde post Covid-19 and provide better and larger facilities than the at 147, High Street. We have now achieved the goal and have won the funding. A big thank you to Our Ryde Councillors Phil Jordan, Richard May and Simon Cooke, who supported behind the scenes and RTC staff, Lisa Dyer (Town Clerk/CEO), and Tara Bloomfield (Finance). Sorry to others, I have not highlighted as this was a real team effort.

Well done everyone and Ryde now has the only fully funded youth service on the Island and one that is winning awards and national recognition. Recently, a working Ryde resident, came up to me and said:

Thank you, RTC, as if it wasn’t for Network Ryde and their real belief in my children and the opportunities I could not afford they have and the happiness and confidence they get from attending sessions at 147, I would not be able to work and I have to and RTC investing in developing the Town and getting visitors to the Town brings income to my employer and secures my job for the future“. I was very moved by those words and reinforced me that the direction of RTC is the right one for the community.

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