Bits of good and bad news can be like the proverbial London bus; nothing for ages, then suddenly three turn up at once.
But we have just had three bits of great news in Herefordshire, and they make March 2017 a month to remember.
Number one is the university. As readers will know, I first called for a university in Herefordshire in 2009—and was met, I might add, with a fair degree of scepticism. “It’ll never happen”, “We don’t need one here” and “It’ll just be one like all the others” were some of the kinder things said at the time, though there was also a good deal of support.
That support started to rise when the baton was picked up by Karen Usher and David Sheppard in 2012, and since then it has mushroomed.
It made a huge difference when Herefordshire Council and then the Marches LEP got behind the project, and now we have £8 million in start-up funding from the Government.
So, if you’re out there and want to support a transformative cause, now is the time to step forward.
But the good news does not end there. Number two is the new Centre for Cyber Security, which is being launched with initial funding of £2.82 million from the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The centre will be located at Skylon Park in Rotherwas, and will serve as a hub for over 20 businesses, creating 185 skilled jobs. It will provide space and facilities for education and training on all matters relating to cyber security.
Between Qinetiq in Malvern, GCHQ in Cheltenham and the new Centre for Cyber Security in Hereford, this part of the world is creating a new Cyber Valley of industrial, defence and security expertise.
Finally, Herefordshire Cultural Partnership has been awarded the sensational sum of £748,000 for their Herefordshire’s a Great Place project. The county is one of sixteen pilot areas chosen for the scheme, which is jointly funded over three years by Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The aim of the project is to boost heritage, arts and culture across Herefordshire, through collaborative working with organisations in tourism, health and education.
Now we just need to win our bid for City of Culture in 2021, and get development plans for the Broad Street library building under way, and we will be really moving. Onwards!!