Trio of experienced directors boost board of agency regenerating local economy

TWO senior politicians and a high-profile figure in the building industry have joined the board of enterprise agency Erewash Partnership.
 
The new directors are councillors Carol Hart and Tony King and Ian Hodgkinson, director of builders Hodgkinson based at Pride Park, Derby, who started his business in Ilkeston.
 
In May last year Councillor Hart became the first female leader of Erewash Borough Council taking over from Councillor Chris Corbett who had stepped down after 10 years and is now deputy mayor.
 
A resident of West Hallam, she has been a member of the council since 2001 and represents West Hallam and Dale Abbey. She has also been a member of Derbyshire County Council since 2005, representing the Breadsall and West Hallam Division and serves as the cabinet member with responsibility for health and communities.
 
A fellow Conservative, Councillor King, who lives in Ilkeston, joined the county authority in May representing Ilkeston West. He is the cabinet member responsible for economic development and regeneration.
 
Career-wise, he was initially involved in engineering, including at board level for a public company. He worked for the former East Midlands Development Agency as innovation manager for transport equipment and also for Derby and Derbyshire Economic Partnership. As a freelance, he works for Innovate UK.
 
Ian Hodgkinson's business supplies skilled bricklayers for a range of projects, locally, nationally and internationally. His business has been a driving force behind the newly-created National Construction Academy.
 
That centre, dedicated to encouraging young people to join the construction industry, was officially opened by television presenter Nick Knowles of the BBC's DIY:SOS programme. Ian has also been involved in projects featured on television.
 
Ian is involved in a project to transform a hall at St Martin's Methodist Church in Allenton, Derby, into a vibrant community hub after creating a community space at Derbyshire County Cricket Club's 3aaa ground in Derby.
 
Ian Viles, Partnership chief executive, said: “The board is delighted to have welcomed three new high-calibre directors. They bring a wide variety of top-level experience coupled with strong local knowledge and a passion for helping the Partnership deliver regeneration and enterprise projects.”
 
The Partnership, whose headquarters are in Long Eaton, helps boost the economy of Erewash by various activities, particularly helping people start a business and then nurturing them to grow.
 
In the last financial year it helped entrepreneurs set up 55 businesses, organised 370 advisory sessions and gave practical support to more than 100 established businesses.
 

Millie's Story

Millie is my beautiful teenage daughter and like most parents I would do absolutely ANYTHING to keep her safe…
 
However, on 26th June 2015 in Tunisia…I was unable to keep her safe from a terrorist attack. It was a lovely day and we were enjoying our family holiday at the Imperial Marhaba Resort.
 
Never thinking that our lives would be changed forever on that fateful day!
 
Never would we ever imagine that a terrorist, armed with a Kalashnikov would murder innocent people at a holiday destination...shooting everyone in sight and throwing hand grenades at us around the pool area.
 
In the carnage, I was separated from my darling daughter and husband Paul, witnessing death and injury as I ran to find them and seek shelter. Whilst in hiding in the gift shop, the noise of the gunfire and explosions were terrifying.
This murderous attack carried on for 45 minutes and I had no idea where my husband and daughter were, if they were together or if they were safe, injured or worse. 
 
My first encounter while searching were of dead bodies, now thinking the worst...then I saw Paul but Millie was nowhere to be seen…my heart sank and the worst feelings of dread engulfed me, we searched again…eventually Millie appeared with others, her feet covered in blood...sadly it belonged to people who had been murdered, there was no way of her avoiding them in the confined space of the corridor. Thankfully, other than hearing damage, physically she was ok.
Millie was in a staff area but the terrorist followed, chased, shooting and throwing hand grenades…she found a room with other people, but witnessed others being murdered…
 
Millie was only 15! Alone being chased by an armed terrorist, killing everyone he could, in a foreign country unable to find her family and as she curled up in a ball…she prepared herself to die and hoped it would be over quick!!
 
I hope, that YOU or anyone you know will never have to write this story about your young son or daughter.
 
I’m sure you can imagine, Millie has suffered…and suffered terribly with recurring nightmares, flashbacks, severe anxiety, fear of loud noises. The screams and gunfire still haunt her.
Millie is severely affected by PTSD, it’s a debilitating disorder and unfortunately there was not much help for a 15-year old and she has lost over 2 years of her education at a crucial point in her life…but Millie is a remarkable young lady and was determined to sit her GCSE exams in 2016, passed them and is now doing A levels. 
 
The treatment available suitable for Millie is private as there is no NHS funded treatment.
After many months of searching for help, I found a charity who helped Millie tremendously, called Strength to Strength, Millie went to New York on their Young Ambassadors Program which put her in touch with other young people who are also victims of terrorism from all over the world...it was a turning point and Millie would like to further her education in the USA. 
 
Millie has been accepted into 5 universities in New York studying Media, which will also allow her to be near Strength to Strength and offer support to other survivors of attacks whilst getting the support she still needs.
 
HOW CAN YOU HELP MILLIE?
 
Millie wants to ensure her life is not about the horrific event she went through, but to use that to focus her determination to achieve making a successful career, improve her life chances and help others who have been through similar experiences. 
 
Millie has excelled in her education despite the tough times she has been through. Since then, she has created a blog, is a leader at Rainbows, is training at a local radio station, is working with RAN (Radicalisation Awareness Network) in Amsterdam, attending events throughout Europe to help practitioners from all EU member states, worked with Counter Terrorism, raised money for Victim Support and has secured a place at university…almost 3 years ago I imagined for what seemed like hours that I would never see my beautiful daughter ever again…and now I am the proudest mother ever, sadly as a family we are unable financially to help Millie fulfil her dream of going to university in the USA and UK government student loans are only available if she studies within the UK.
 
I am asking you if you would help to make a difference to my daughters’ life and help towards her further education…YOU in return will see the fulfilment of a dream for a beautiful young lady who we are so grateful survived that day. We need 10 companies to donate/invest £2k which would cover 1 years’ worth of tuition and living expenses, would you be one of those 10 donors? Or of course any amount you are willing to donate?
 
All I can say is a big thank you for reading Millie’s story and I hope that you would consider helping her and in return she will be part of your future.
Zoe Thompson (Millie’s Mum)
Estimating Manager
Nexsis Comms Ltd.
 

Businesses and more jobs created after agency helps would-be entrepreneurs 

FIFTEEN people have now successfully set up their own businesses after benefiting from advice and  support on the D2 Business Starter Programme run last year by enterprise agency Erewash Partnership.  
 
More than 100 would-be entrepreneurs attended a series of free workshops in Erewash and Amber Valley.  This has resulted in creating 21 jobs. 
 
The Partnership is now preparing to run the programme again in each of the two areas on behalf of East Midlands Chamber. This is part of a county-wide initiative that is funded by Derbyshire County and City Councils and Derby and Derbyshire Economic Partnership.
 
The programme is available to residents in Erewash and Amber Valley, who have to enrol and register through the agency, whose headquarters are based in Long Eaton.
 
An individual tailored package of support is offered, which includes one to one mentor support and a series of workshops, these are led by experienced professionals and are designed to compliment the mentoring sessions.
 
Workshops include subjects such as an introduction to self-employment, marketing, business planning, bookkeeping and social media.
 
The free half-day workshops will begin in Erewash on April 11 and continue until May 25. Workshops will be repeated in the autumn in Amber Valley.
 
The largest number of jobs created has been at The Factory Kitchen, a licensed restaurant in Mundy Street, Ilkeston.  Owners Kevan and Jane Pierrepont, who were previously in engineering, set up the business in August.  They now employ six members of staff in a variety of positions. 
 
“It was good. It gave us a fresh insight to help our new business which was different to before,” said Jane.
 
Mark Ratcliffe accessed all areas of the programme and attended all five workshops.  Mark set up Marlon Training Associates in Ripley which trains people who work with new computer systems, processes and working practices.
 
Previously, Mark had worked for a high street bank for 31 years. He realised he could use his skills and experience but required help and support to set up and run his own business.
 
“Each workshop was really useful with good practical advice and the mentoring was excellent,” he said. 
 
Partnership chief executive Ian Viles said: “Any successful entrepreneur will say that starting a business is not easy and there is an old saying that if you fail to plan, plan to fail.
 
“Our programmes provide would-be business owners with sound, helpful advice, based on proven techniques which is backed up by years of successful experience by mentors – to hopefully eliminate potential pitfalls and so give a solid foundation. 
 
“We are delighted with the number of people who have started their own businesses, boosting the mixed local economy. We wish them every success and are confident others will follow.”

Centre threatened with closure opens its doors to the public to raise its profile

A centre run by a charity threatened with closure is throwing open its doors to the public in a bid to attract more financial help.
 
Erewash Mental Health Association's Touchwood Centre in Ilkeston is having an open week starting from Monday (March 19).
 
The Charlotte Street centre, which opens each weekday, offers a welcoming, safe and supportive environment where up to 40 adults with mental health issues can have a meal, take part in various activities including learning life skills and computer training, recreation and sport, and receive help and support.
 
The association used to receive a public grant but that ended last March, leaving the centre facing a cash crisis and possible closure within months.
 
Now it is fighting back, having appointed a fund raiser and keen to show just how much its services are needed and valued by users who are vulnerable and regard the centre as a lifeline.
 
The public will be able to see activities including holistic and beauty therapies, chair-based exercises, mindfulness, and competitions when the centre opens to the public from 10.30am-2.30pm. 
 
And they will be joined by the borough's first citizen, when the Mayor of Erewash, Councillor Mary Hopkinson, pops into the centre on Monday at 11am to see for herself the work done.
 
Centre manager Lynn Orchard said the idea behind the open week was raise the profile of the centre  and arouse interest from people and organisations who may be able to give assistance.
 
“We want more people to see exactly what we do here and spread the word about what we can offer,” she said.
 
“Hopefully, that will attract benefactors who will help keep the centre going.”

Cash-stricken charity faces closure of base for vulnerable adults unless it receives help

A CHARITY that is a lifeline for people with mental health issues may have to close in months because of a cash crisis.
 
As well as depriving service receivers of vital support the closure of Erewash Mental Health Association's Touchwood Centre in Ilkeston would also mean the loss of four jobs.
 
The association, which was formed 30 years ago, used to have another centre in Long Eaton but that closed in April because of lack of funds, leaving just the one which caters for up to 40 people with mental health issues.
 
The Ilkeston centre, in Charlotte Street, offers a welcoming, safe and supportive environment where adults can have a meal, take part in various activities including learning life skills and computer training, recreation and sport, and receive help and support.
 
The centre, which is open from 10-3.30pm each weekday, is overseen by a board of directors.
 
One of them, Lesley Grand-Scrutton, said: “There have been drastic cuts in Derbyshire to funding mental health services by both the county council and the clinical commissioning group.
 
“The cuts have moved the goalposts so that instead of providing long-term centre-based support, as we do, what is offered is short-term support within the community by a national mental health charity.
 
“We are providing a vital service which is not the same as the alternative offered.
 
“Our service receivers are happy with what we do and don't like change. They are vulnerable and we are their lifeline.
 
“If we don't get sufficient help within months we will have no option but to close the the centre which will impact on the lives of the less fortunate in this area.
 
“There has been a lot of high profile, including royal support for mental health issues, but in our experience this does not filter through to grass roots level.”
 
The association received a grant of more than £100,000, but that stopped on March 31. It costs £8,000 a month to run the Ilkeston centre. 
 
Manager Lynn Orchard said: “We are managing to continue by using our reserves at the moment but we estimate that we can only continue to do that for another six months.
 
“We would appeal for any business, charity or philanthropist who could offer their financial support to contact us.”
 
Comments from service receivers include: 'Staff offer appropriate advice and a friendly welcome', 
'The centre allows members not to feel isolated when symptoms are scary', and 'Activities have made me happier and self-assured'.