Mole Valley Rural Community Summit Success
The district's first Rural Community Summit took place on Tuesday 26 February. All 120 places were filled at this lively free event, organised by Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) and hosted by BBC journalist Nicholas Owen.
Representatives from a range of businesses and community groups across rural Mole Valley came to the event, which took place at Hartsfield Manor in Betchworth. Attendees networked with fellow rural stakeholders and discussed current challenges and opportunities.
A panel of local experts each shared their knowledge on issues related to the key priorities identified in MVDC's Rural Community Strategy 2018 Action Plan: digital connectivity, the visitor economy, community safety, rural-based businesses and rural housing.
The speakers were: Louise Williams, Rural Housing Enabler for Surrey; Professor Caroline Scarles, Professor of Tourism at the University of Surrey; Marc Jones, owner of the Red Lion in Betchworth and Director of the MR Group, which advises pubs on how to succeed; Lucy Quinnell, owner of Fire and Iron at Rowhurst Forge in Leatherhead and founder of the Teazle Wood Trust; Angus Denny from Broadband for Surrey Hills (B4SH); business consultant Simon Matthews, Director at Matthews Associates.
A number of local specialists were there disseminating information, including English Rural Housing Association, Superfast Surrey Broadband, Surrey Hills AONB, Surrey Police, North Downs Line Community Rail Partnership, Metrobus, MVDC's Community Grants and Planning Teams, and many more.
Councillor Corinna Osborne-Patterson, Cabinet Member for People and Rural Mole Valley, said: "Thank you to all our speakers, rural businesses and community groups for giving up your time to join us. Thanks to you there was a brilliant buzz to the event; it was exciting to hear so many thought-provoking conversations and see so many new connections being made. Your ideas and feedback are invaluable as we plan how best to support you now and into the future."
Find out more about MVDC's Rural Community Strategy.