In this blog, Sarah Louise Fairburn, Chair of the Connected Coast board, explains why a shared and ambitious vision for the future of the Lincolnshire Coast is important and why she felt the need to step up to become the Chair of the board.
There’s a lot to be proud of on the Lincolnshire Coast. After all, every year more than 4 million visitors visit us, and we have some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country.
But we want so much more for our area.
As a business owner in the area, we’re very aware of the transient nature of visitors. While it’s great that they visit us during the warmer months, the onus to come back when the British summer ends is simply not there. For people who live and work here, it can be frustrating. I truly believe that with the effects that COVID-19 is having on the population, more remote working will not only become more desirable, it will now be more possible. It is likely that an affordable, more rural place to settle will be on many people’s checklists.
However, to really make this kind of impact, we need to ensure everyone knows we are open for business. This means across the board, not just for tourism; but for skills, business, connectivity and much more besides.
One only needs to look to other areas of the British coast for inspiration: the offering simply needs to be ambitious and make waves. Norfolk, areas of the south-east and north-west have transformed their reputations and are now enjoying the fruits of their labour. We have such an excellent base to build on that I am confident that we will prevail. The Connected Coast board is full of enthusiasm and experience, and by working in this way, with the private and public sector combined, we can create what I think will be one of the most striking long-term development projects seen in decades.
The future is going to look very different. In my own business, we have seen that emerge so rapidly that those left behind aren’t just catching up: they are falling by the wayside. For example, where we used to seek low-skilled workers to complete manual work and labour, we now seek those that are switched on to tech, robotics and innovative ways of working. In a similar way, the coast needs to combine its already impressive tourism offering with a modern edge to remain relevant and that’s why we’re here.
It’s not just about attracting people here, it’s about retaining talent and those that will make a difference. I can’t wait to get started and to see what amazing things we can achieve.