Champion of the Week
Meet our Champion of the Week: Tara Underhill, Senior Coordinator at Destination Chesterfield
I was pleased to join Destination Chesterfield in 2012 to help raise the profile of the town, support business growth and attract further inward investment. I work alongside Dom Stevens, Lydia Gregson and 170 local organisations – known as Chesterfield Champions – to promote Chesterfield and its fantastic businesses. It’s a pleasure to market Chesterfield because there are so many positive stories to tell.
In my current role as Senior Coordinator, I oversee Destination Chesterfield’s diverse events programme and manage retention and growth of the Chesterfield Champions scheme. Organising events such as the Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards, the Chesterfield Retail Awards and Celebrate Chesterfield is something I particularly enjoy. These events allow us all to reflect on past achievements and thank local people for all that they contribute to the town. I also love working with members of Chesterfield Champions; there are so many people who share our enthusiasm for the town and our vision for its continued growth and success
What’s your best memory of the town?
In 2013 my husband, Mike and I were proud to complete our first half marathon in Chesterfield. Inspired by my manager, Dom, who is a keen runner, I ran further than I thought I could, having only reached a 5k distance in the previous year. It was particularly motivating to run past the Crooked Spire and support my home town while wearing my Destination Chesterfield vest.
How would you describe Chesterfield to a potential investor? (What sets us apart from other towns?)
I’d say that Chesterfield is a growing town with many opportunities for investors and plenty of support available from training opportunities to access to funding. Through the Chesterfield Champions network we have a very resilient, supportive business community. There are many people here, who are keen to work together to ensure the town succeeds. Business owners often take the time to share advice and collaborate in ways which will benefit two or more organisations.
Chesterfield is a great place to bring up a family too. There’s a fantastic range of events for everyone to enjoy – alongside the bustling Chesterfield Market and iconic Crooked Spire, and it’s a great spot, from which to explore the Peak District. I love living so close to Curbar Edge; the views are amazing.
What do you like best about living in Chesterfield and why?
It’s the people who really make Chesterfield great! I love how many friendly faces there are here; many of whom I’ve met through Chesterfield Champions or one of Destination Chesterfield’s events. We enjoy lots of excellent customer service in Chesterfield and that makes it a real pleasure to shop and eat out in the town.
Where are your favourite places to eat out locally and why?
We’re very lucky to have such quality and diversity when it comes to eating out in Chesterfield!
Each year I enjoy reading all of the positive comments we receive from the judges of the Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards and after the ceremony I like to visit as many as I can to try them out for myself. There are many long-standing food and drink businesses in the town and we’ve also seen quite a few new businesses popping up over the years; it’s great to be able to share so many of the success stories each October.
Where in the town do you spend your leisure time?
We enjoy visiting local parks or attending family events with our little boy. We like to shop at the Chesterfield Artisan Market on the last Sunday of the month and are always keen to try out new activities – such as the Chesterfield Observation Wheel. Chatsworth and Matlock Farm Park are also fantastic attractions to have on our doorstep.
When we have a night off, we enjoy visiting Chesterfield Theatres and have seen a number of top comedians and plays in recent years – from Jimmy Carr to Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap.
Which development do you think will make the biggest difference to the town?
There are so many regeneration projects either in progress or about to begin in Chesterfield so it’s difficult to choose just one, however I am particularly excited by Chesterfield Waterside, which is currently the 47th largest regeneration project in the UK.
Town centre living, a hotel and additional cafes and bars around the new canal basin will be a real boost for Chesterfield, particularly with the continued trend of consumers spending more on leisure.
The new office space will be welcomed by the town’s growing businesses and the extra parking will support the expected increase in footfall at Chesterfield Rail station following the announcement of the HS2 stop.
What three words best sum up Chesterfield?
Supportive, resilient, growing.