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The Novichok events of recent months have brought Salisbury greater worldwide attention and added an extra dimension to the need to plan a positive future for the city. Focusing on a new Maltings development, a stronger skills-base, and civic life involving every age-group. This was the message from the recent ‘Ideas Meeting’ of the Salisbury RSA.

Proposals ranged from a University for Wiltshire to a cluster of ideas to enrich our City’s skills-base and capacity to engage all age-groups in the economic and cultural life of the City.

The Salisbury RSA Network has long advocated for increasing the availability of higher education and greater engagement with universities in our area and the idea from our Local Enterprise Partnership of a future multi-centre University of Wiltshire could be important for the City.

The Harnham Water Meadows Trust shared plans to record and promote rural crafts across the District. New grants will help the Trust to engage with the community and to preserve and tell the story of local rural crafts.

Peter Thompson FRSA, in partnership with the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce and the Salisbury Journal, has set up Our City 2020 Vision, a stimulating competition for school students to think of ideas and ways in which the city can develop and prosper.

In response to the employment needs of less academic young people, George Brutton FRSA offered his ideas to provide construction site training for 16+ school-leavers. There were also initiatives for older people. A new organisation called ‘I’m not Done Yet are You?’ established by Andrew Middleton FRSA, is now actively encouraging greater self-sufficiency among people over 50.

Some local people will recall the days when a water-driven generator beneath what is now the Bishop’s Mill in the Maltings powered the lights of central Salisbury. The good news is that Salisbury Community Energy, established with the aim of driving the uptake of renewable energy and energy efficiency locally, hopes and plans to restart the generator project.

Finally, process is as important as product. Salisbury’s Democracy Café chaired by Dickie Bellinger FRSA propose to develop local Citizens Juries for extending ways in which local people can have a more active say in local concerns.

Our next quarterly meeting will be co-hosted with Sarum College in March 2019 and focus on education. If you’d like further information about the Salisbury RSA Network and future meetings please contact Neil Beagrie at neil@beagrie.com

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