Caithness And North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership - Update
18th May 2019
The team continued with a programme of drop-in events on the ground around the area this week, running drop-in events at the Village Hall in Skerray and the Kinlochbervie Hotel. For details on the project and the programme of events see http://www.hie.co.uk/regional-information/area-information/caithness-and-sutherland/uk-space-port/community-engagement.html
Energy & Business Services:
As previously highlighted, a meeting was held in Thurso to highlight the newly-established DeepWind Offshore Supply Chain Cluster. This is the North of Scotland supply chain cluster (one of 8 in the UK that is being created under the UK Offshore Wind Sector Deal) with the developers that are involved in the projects around the north. It will look at the deep wind opportunity covering both fixed bottom and floating wind and is also looking out to the next offshore wind leasing round (ScotWind). The Cluster also had a presence at the All-Energy exhibition and conference in Glasgow on 14-16 May 2019.
Meanwhile, news that the final batch of Siemens Gamesa turbines had been loaded aboard the Pacific Orca for installation at the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm site off the Caithness coast (https://renews.biz/53014/beatrice-nears-finish-line/) was quickly followed this week by confirmation that the installation process for the 84 turbines has now been completed, bringing an end to this crucial offshore phase of construction. Onshore construction at Wick harbour is also progressing well, with the new Operations base nearing completion. https://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/beatrice-final-turbine-hailed-as-fantastic-milestone-for-caithness-178057/
As part of an ongoing process of helping communicate progress with the delivery of aspects of our economic transition programme CNSRP's partners work together to generate news stories for local, regional and national media. I also speak on a regular basis to individuals and organisations across the area to update on progress.
This week:- It was good to see the positive views of the future expressed by local Highland Councillors at a recent meeting of the Caithness Committee. Previous concerns had been expressed at projections about future population levels in the north, but Councillors pointed out the range of measures being taken forward to ensure that the area remains a great place in which to live, work and study. https://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/plans-in-place-to-offset-population-decline-177965/
This week saw the start of a consultation programme in support of the Peatlands Partnership's move to propose UNESCO World Heritage status for the peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland. I supported the first drop-in event, which was in the Pulteney Centre, Wick, and this was followed by events in Golspie, Helmsdale, Dunbeath later in the week. For a full list of venues, dates and times see http://www.theflowcountry.org.uk/world-heritage-site/
Eann Sinclair - Area Manager, Caithness & Sutherland
A new £4.5m life sciences building was officially opened at Inverness Campus by the Deputy First Minister Mr John Swinney, on Monday 20 May 2019. Called ‘Solasta House', it offers flexible space for new and expanding technology and life sciences companies and is already home to eight companies and could be 75 percent full by the summer.
Week Commencing 29 April 2019. Energy & Business Services: As we see positive progress with the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm development, and the development of both Moray East and West projects, a new initiative to support supply chain companies to learn more about opportunities will be held in Thurso on 13th May.
Weeks commencing 8th-22nd April 2019. Energy & Business Services: It was good to see the announcement this week by Dounreay that its Decommissioning Services Framework had gone live.
The Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards, now in their fifteenth year, will be held on Friday 15 November 2019 at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness. With some of the best natural produce in the world, the Awards showcase and celebrate excellence and achievement in the food and drink industry in the region.
Week Commencing 8th April 2019 Energy & Business Services: It was good to see this week in the Press & Journal's Energy Voice a piece confirming the transformational impact that the Beatrice Offshore project is having on Wick. It is a timely reminder that although the £2.6Bn project is nearing the end of its construction phase, the economic impacts in the north will continue over the lifetime of the project through the operations base in the restored harbourfront buildings in Wick, which will be home to around 90 workers.
Twelve Highland business leaders have been selected to take part in the next IMPACT30 programme. The programme aims to support the next generation of business leaders, by providing personalised support, coaching and mentoring responsive to their unique growth needs.
An extended online portal that helps small to medium enterprises in the Highlands and Islands find new business opportunities from large contracts, will be launched on Thursday (4 April 2019). The Open4Business (O4B) portal was originally set up in 2012 by SSE to link supply chain firms with large SSE construction projects.
Week Commencing 25th March 2019 SpaceHub Sutherland: The team's weekly presence in Tongue continued this week, and June Love from the team also delivered a presentation on the project to members of the Thurso & Wick Trades Union Council at its meeting this week. I attend all of the Trades Council's meetings, so it was good to hear the unanimously positive reaction to June's update from members (see Communications below for feedback on my discussion with members).
Architects have been appointed to design the spaceport that is being developed to launch small satellites from the Highlands. Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is leading the £17.5m Space Hub Sutherland project, including a £2.5m grant from the UK Space Agency (UKSA).
Three inspirational coaches will lead the latest edition of the Pathfinder programme which aims to put businesses in the Highlands and Islands on the fast track to success. A 12-week accelerator course hosted by entrepreneurial experts Steve Thomas, Danny Meaney, and Dr Andy Kelly offers a unique opportunity for businesses to pressure test their ideas and hone the perfect pitch.
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