We live in a most beautiful part of the world – you have heard me say that many times! Little wonder people want to visit Mendip. We have so much to shout about. The rich, unique, natural landscapes of the Mendip Hills and all they have to offer, is just one example. A delight for walkers, cavers and climbers. Our main towns too of course, offer diverse attractions.
While staycations will have brought extra footfall to the southwest region, there is no hiding from the fact that tourism has been one of the hardest hit sectors during the COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
If we are serious about recovery in our area, if we want to build back better, we must deliver financial support packages and offer practical help to our crucial visitor economy.
Your District Council plays a fundamental role in ensuring Mendip is an attractive destination to visit. It’s in everything we do – from business support, planning, environmental health, arts and culture, marketing – we are at the very heart of it, and well-placed to deliver results.
That’s why we have developed a Tourism Strategy, to strengthen our offer, to collaborate and co-ordinate within this district and with those near neighbours who border us. You can find our strategy, which outlines our approach on our website www.mendip.gov.uk (look for the ‘Business in Mendip’ section).
Just last week we launched our Mendip Tourism Grant. It’s a one-off £50k fund to help boost visitor numbers, increase spending in the area and promote Mendip as a ‘go-to destination’ in Somerset. Funding amounts between £3,000 and £6,000 will be awarded. Any local organisation or business can apply, but applications should be submitted with the knowledge and support of your parish, town or city council. So, if you have an idea for a project, make sure you apply before November 1st. Again, there’s more information on the Mendip website: www.mendip.gov.uk/mts.
We know there are skills shortages in this visitor sector too, and let me reassure you that our Economic Development team are flat-out working to support local employers and providers and help local people into jobs.
As I write this, the Autumn equinox is upon us. There’s a slight chill in the air and the smell of wood smoke, as the seasons slowly shift. I know visitors will still be drawn to Mendip in the coming months, to take in the views, kick the leaves underfoot, and enjoy the bustle of our market towns. We are so lucky to live in Mendip. What an asset we have. Together we need to treasure it - and crucially, invest in it.
If you have any questions for me, then do get in touch on email [email protected] or on my Facebook page: @Ros.Wyke. I am always happy to hear from you.
Written by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council
Please get in touch either on my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke or you can send me an email: [email protected].