Weekly update, 28th October

Energy/ Business Services:

Gordon Calder’s story in this week’s Caithness Courier carries good news for the area economy. Rolls Royce has confirmed its commitment to work in Caithness until 2030, providing a boost to the 300 strong workforce. http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/News/Rolls-Royce-delivers-major-pledge-on-Caithness-jobs-29102013.htm

Local companies continue to attract recognition for work being done in the energy sector. Yesterday’s Energy North Awards 2103 dinner saw Scrabster Harbour Trust awarded Best Oil & Gas Supplier and Subsea 7’s Willie Watt voted Energy North Ambassador 2013. Congratulations to both the Trust and to Willie.

Tourism Food & Drink:

Last weekend’s Thurso Surf Festival, which was supported again by CNSRP partner Highland Council and main sponsor SSE, attracted well over 70 competitors from across the UK. Competitors felt that the Thurso East waves were “the best ever for a British surf contest”. http://www.ukprosurf.com/luis-eyre-wins-thurso-surf-festival-i8327.html Also taking place last weekend were the Scottish Ploughing Championships, which also benefited from dry, bright conditions. It has been estimated that the two events attracted a combined audience of over 2,000.  

I met today with Ellie Lamont to discuss encouraging progress being made by Venture North, the grouping of area businesses dedicated to growing the value of the tourism sector. The business-led momentum being generated by the group reinforces the area’s ability to deliver high quality product ideas.

Enabling Activities:

I met today with colleagues from Highlands & Islands Airports Ltd and Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd as we continue to look at ways of identifying and supporting future infrastructure requirements at Wick John O’Groats airport.

Also good to catch up today with Alex Barrett of Wick IT Services, and to talk through some of his very well-thought-out ideas on collective online visibility and marketing for micro businesses. Our conversation began via the local business forum of Twitter (#caithnessbiz) so it was good to make contact in the real world too!

Communications:

As part of an ongoing process of helping communicate progress with the delivery of aspects of our economic transition programme CNSRP’s partners work together to generate news stories for local, regional and national media. I also speak on a regular basis to individuals and organisations across the area to update on progress. This week:

  • A brochure highlighting progress on CNSRP priorities was issued today with copies of the John O’Groat Journal. We were pleased to be able to include a very welcome endorsement of progress written by John Swinney MSP, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment & Sustainable Growth. A link to an online version of the brochure will be provided in next week’s email.
  • Thurso Cinema was highly commended at the Screen International awards in London this week, capping an excellent year for the company and its owner Rob Arthur.
  • There has been general welcome for the news that Atlantis Resources Corporation has entered into a partnership with American company Lockheed Martin to support the delivery of the company’s new AK1500 tidal device, which could be deployed as part of the Meygen development consented last month by Scottish Government http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/News/Marine-tie-up-to-deliver-Pentland-Firth-devices-17102013.htm