Destination Chesterfield Chair, Peter Swallow has given his thoughts about exciting developments taking place across Chesterfield as we enter March.
Spring is in the air. I for one cannot wait for the longer, warmer days and, rather than staying indoors. I, like many of you, am starting to think about venturing out again in the evening.
Whilst some of us may have been hibernating during the winter months, it is pleasing to see that the hospitality sector in Chesterfield has not been. Despite the challenges that the pandemic has thrown at it, new bars and restaurants have opened in the last six months, and more are opening soon.
Most recently Vicar Lane Shopping Centre welcomed Pizza Pi and before that Albert’s Jüngerer Bruder opened in Rykneld Square in November last year. The town centre will also shortly welcome The Dirty Habit on Holywell Street, taking over the unit that once was the Rising Sun. This new bar will also have outdoor space.
The pandemic has helped us all appreciate the outdoors, and it is great to see more businesses using their outdoor space to draw people to their venue. It benefits not only their business but also the high streets and town centre too.
With the transformation of the former Co-op on Elder Way into units for bars and restaurants, which also has fantastic outdoor dining space, it is fair to say that Chesterfield town centre’s night-time economy is set to get livelier in 2022.
As well as boosting Chesterfield’s night-time economy, giving local people and visitors more choice, these businesses are also creating jobs and opportunity. Albert’s Jüngerer Bruder has created 20 jobs alone.
Outside the town centre, Chesterfield’s hospitality scene is thriving. The Batch House at The Glass Yard is shortly to open and will offer everything from Indian street food to craft beer. While Chesterfield’s four-star hotel, Peak Edge, has recently been awarded the best wedding venue in Derbyshire.
With more than 16,000 students in North Derbyshire set to gain their GCSE and A level qualifications in the next five years, there has never been more opportunity for young people to build a career in hospitality in Chesterfield.
It is not just the hospitality sector which offers opportunity to young people. At the recent Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Skills and Employability Conference it was revealed that that green and digital skills are most in demand from employers. This highlights the need for businesses and education and training providers to work together to ensure that young people are equipped with the skills needed to get good jobs.
Looking to the immediate digital skills needed to support the local economy, however, the Chesterfield Digital High Street campaign has been instrumental in enabling retail, hospitality and leisure businesses across the town to get online and trade digitally alongside their high street presence.
Ensuring young people know about the opportunities available to them now and in the future cannot just be the responsibility of businesses and skills and education providers. The proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ comes to mind. It highlights the importance of community and what we can all do to support young people leaving education this year and beyond.
From offering work experience to simply telling young people about your job, we can all help them take their first step onto the career ladder and build their future right here in Chesterfield, ensuring the local economy thrives now and for future generations.