Local businesses and representatives from the public and privates sectors joined together last week to take part in the inaugural Wrexham Town Centre Forum Dinner.
Held at Hafod Restaurant in Coleg Cambria on Thursday 1st February, the evening was the first of its kind for the area.
Organised by Alex Jones (owner of The Bank Wine Bar and Bistro) and Sam Regan (owner of The Lemon Tree), the newly elected Chairmen of the Town Centre Forum and Town Centre Steering Group, the event aimed to shine a spotlight on the resurgence of positivity in the town centre and create an opportunity to ‘build bridges’ and network.
Both Alex and Sam were elected to their new roles in autumn 2017 and already using their influence as established business owners to bring people together from the both the public and private sectors to help achieve common goals, including regeneration of the town centre.
Thursday’s event brought together more than 50 Town centre traders and representatives from local businesses, attendees also included Mr Ian Lucas MP, local town centre councillors, Wrexham County Borough council officers and the leader of Wrexham Council (to name a few!). Wrexham.com also attended.
The evening started with a short address from Alex Jones, who in his relaxed and jovial way encouraged all to mingle and network, pointing out that the aim was to get people talking who may not have met before, to start a new era of communication and collaboration while recognising the commercial intent for those conducting business in the town.
Alex also pointed out key individual guests, such as Town Centre Managers Amanda Davies and Rachel Cupit, Lead Member Mark Pritchard, Strategic Director for WCBC Lee Robinson and Mr Ian Lucas MP – inviting local businesses to use the opportunity to network and introduce themselves – something that was evident throughout the evening.
Sam Regan, who also Chairs ‘This is Wrexham’ Tourism Partnership, spoke about the thriving tourism economy within Wrexham and the work that ‘This is Wrexham’ are doing to support the tourism industry locally and regionally.
Lee Robinson, strategic director for Wrexham Council, spoke of an apparent historic disconnect between the private and public sectors, something that is being tackled by a ‘more pro-active council’ and organisations such as the Town Centre Forum. Mr Robinson praised the commercial outlook of the evening, adding that he hoped such commercial activities were also in the realm of the local authority.
David Cupit, who is soon to be appointed operations Manager for Tŷ Pawb, informed guests of progress and the opportunities that the centre will bring to the town and along with the theme of those present, said he was open to any contact either then on the night or in the future.
Andy Woods, director of catering at Coleg Cambria, gave information on what the college are doing to integrate into the community and how they can support the business community. The catering and service from Coleg Cambria staff and students (top picture) was widely praised during and after the event.
The dinner was drawn to a close by a short farewell by Alex, but as a testament to the success of evening, guests remained for some time to continue networking and developing new and exciting opportunities. The overwhelming consensus was ‘when can we do it again?’
Speaking after the event, an enthusiastic Alex Jones said: “It was a great evening. From the moment we announced the event was going to take place, the response has been unprecedented.
“It proves the significant progress that has been made in such a short space of time, and the want of everyone to work together to make Wrexham great again.
Sam Regan, added: “It was amazing to see everyone coming together, and having open dialog about the Town centre.
“For me it’s all about communication, and this event really helped to bring people together.
“It gives us confidence as a Forum that we are heading in the right direction for the future of Wrexham.”
(Pics via Ginger Pixie photography / our own shots)