Around 200 people attended the third annual ‘Redcar | Cleveland Ambassador Showcase’ event at Kirkleatham Walled Garden, Redcar on 23 November. The event was a celebration and showcase of the great things happening in Redcar and Cleveland from a business and economic perspective.

What a fantastic, positive and collaborative event! Thanks you Redcar | Cleveland Ambassadors. Being part of the Ambassador programme is a real pleasure and big congrats to Richard Baker and team for making this a great showcase!

Liz Atkin, Blonde Creative

Half of ‘The Pavilion’ marquee was set out in ‘expo’ style, with 40 local organisations taking exhibition stands; with the likes of Sembcorp, Host & Stay, K2 Construction Management, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, Tees Valley Combined Authority and MFC Foundation represented.

First up, Redcar | Cleveland Place Board member and principal of Redcar & Cleveland College, Jason Faulkner welcomed guests to the event, outlining the day’s agenda and giving a personal and professional perspective on Redcar and Cleveland’s positive journey in recent years. Jason also outlined the progress made on the Redcar | Cleveland Ambassador programme, now having over 700 members.

Jason handed over to panel discussion host BBC Radio Tees presenter, Rachel Teate. The first panel was about NEW INVESTMENT INTO REDCAR AND CLEVELAND. Before the discussion got underway, David Gardner, Head of Project Management at event sponsors, K2 Construction Management, spoke about their organisation and their work across the UK, with a focus on being the principal contractor on the major SeAH Wind monopile factory currently being built at Teesworks, Redcar.

David then joined the panel, which included representatives of two other major projects lined up for Redcar and Cleveland – Steve Makin, Global Blue Hydrogen Programme Director at BP and Vikki Jeckell, Non-Executive Director at Tees Valley Lithium.

The panellists spoke about why their organisation have chosen to invest in Redcar and Cleveland; the benefits their projects can bring to the local community, including supply chain and job opportunities; and the importance of connecting with young people and ensuring that they have the right skills to forge careers in the emerging clean energy sector being created in Redcar and Cleveland.

After a period of networking in the exhibition area, the second panel discussion got underway. Rachel Teate introduced the panellists on the ’BUSINESS IN REDCAR AND CLEVELAND‘ panel – Lorna Jackson, Festival Director – Saltburn Food Festival and Saltburn Farmers Market; Sharon Lane, Managing Director, Tees Components; Ryan McKnight, Director of People & Places: The SDDE Smith Group and Holly Thomson, CEO, Blonde Creative.

The panellists spoke of their local pride, outlining why they have chosen Redcar and Cleveland as their business base and their connections with the local community. Looking ahead, the panellists spoke of potential challenges and opportunities on the horizon in the next 12 months.

It was fantastic to hear these local success stories, and how belonging to the local community meant so much to each panellist.

Following another period of networking, Redcar | Cleveland Place Board member, Ryan McKnight took to the stage to introduce the next speaker, Dale Smith. Ryan referenced a change in the Chair position of the Place Board, with former Chair, Dr. Angela Brockbank recently stepping down from the role. Ryan paid tribute to Angela’s fantastic work in the Chair role, and on the Board, for many years.

Ryan then introduced the new Chair of the Redcar | Cleveland Place Board, CEO of The SDDE Smith Group, Dale Smith.

Dale, spoke about his pride and passion in Redcar and Cleveland, speaking of his confidence in the future of the place, building on a real feeling of business growth and entrepreneurial spirit in our place.

Dale also paid tribute to his predecessor, Angela Brockbank, and in taking on the Chair role, spoke about building on Angela’s work to reflect his passion for the area and determination to ensure we don’t miss out on the new opportunities that are presenting themselves.

Dale then spoke about the future direction of the Place Board and the Ambassador programme; stating that a more independent organisation will be created, which looks to engage with big businesses, the people of Redcar Cleveland and SMEs. The group will be the conduit for those three groups, and the centre piece of what it means to live, work or visit Redcar and Cleveland.

Closing the event, Place Marketing Manager, Richard Baker thanked delegates, exhibitors, speakers and panellists, event sponsor ‘K2 Construction Management’, Kirkleatham Walled Garden staff and others for their part in the event.

Richard outlined the huge amount and value of investment happening in Redcar and Cleveland, at sites such as Teesworks and Wilton International, citing examples heard from panellists at the Showcase event. Richard also highlighted the extent of place improvement projects led by Redcar & Cleveland Council, at Redcar, Guisborough, Loftus, Eston and East Cleveland.

Finally, Richard reminded attendees of the journey we’ve been on with the ambassador programme, where a team of now 700 people have signed up to play their part in amplifying positive place news amongst their networks.

Positive feedback has been received from delegates and exhibitors about the event – many stating that they have learnt a lot and have made some excellent new contacts at the event. There definitely was a positive buzz in the room!

Be sure to check out the summary video for the event shot by Castle Productions Films below!

Some event feedback:

“Thank you for the invite to Thursday’s event, it was great to see so many businesses there and catch up with people I’ve not seen for a long time.”

“Thanks for yesterday. I was able to spread the word of my event coming up, made some great connections and enjoyed all the panel discussions – so a fantastic day all round!”

“I just wanted to say a big thank you for organising today, I really enjoyed it! You had such a good turn out, and it was fab for me to be able to talk about my business with all the delegates. I look forward to next year’s!”

“I want to say a big thank you for such an engaging and informative event. I thought the panel discussions were so interesting.”

“A pleasure to have been involved! A great opportunity to showcase the work we’re doing in the region and to further engage with the local supply chain.”

“It was a fab event, I loved meeting so many different businesses”

“A great event with lots of different business and organisations, thanks so much!”

“Such a brilliant event, great job Richard Baker & team. Thanks for inviting me onto the panel!”

“A great event, well done to Richard and the team for organising such a great event, celebrating all that is happening in Redcar and Cleveland.”

“A great event, thank you for organising it and for asking us to cover the photography”

“Great hearing about so much investment coming to our region”

“Great morning yesterday at the Ambassador Showcase. Caught up with lots of people and made some new connections too. Even met a couple of people I’d carried out work for but never actually met ‘in real life’ until now!”

Check out some more photos of the event, below! (all pictures on this page by 2812, Saltburn)

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