Skills, recruitment and marketing were top of the agenda for the brand new Chesterfield Food and Drink Forum, which was launched this month by Destination Chesterfield.
The new forum builds on the continued success of the annual Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards and is designed to further raise the profile of the town’s thriving food and drink sector.
Open to Chesterfield Champions, the group will meet twice a year and has been established to encourage a closer working relationship between businesses operating within the sector.
It aims to support business growth by providing access to training and development and signposting to local business advisers. It is also hoped the group will spark new marketing ideas to further boost the sector and encourage the whole town to get involved.
Hospitality and tourism is the UK’s fourth-largest industry, supporting 4.49 million jobs and generating one tenth of the country’s economic wealth. Chesterfield is no exception. The thriving sector is growing year-on-year with recent developments including the arrival of Deliveroo in Chesterfield in May, the creation of new food and drink units in the former Co-Op building on Elder Way and the redevelopment of the outdoor space at Vicar Lane.
The inaugural event was held at The Crafty Dog on Chatsworth Road and was attended by representatives from The Crafty Dog, Casa Hotel, Brampton Brewery, Stephenson’s Tea and Coffee House, R P Davidson Cheese Factor and Salute. It was chaired by Laura Ashby and Richard Alsop from Edge Events, the company behind the Chesterfield Food Festival and Street Food and Grooves Festival and included information for local producers from the Food and Drink Forum Ltd.
Richard Alsop explained: “As Laura and I work with businesses across the food and drink sector providing an event platform for them to deliver their products, as chairs of the forum, we are not only able to be objective, but also understand what matters to the individuals and businesses operating within the sector.
“The first forum went really well and feedback from the attendees was excellent. It has provided us with a great platform to build on. Now, it’s about increasing numbers, connecting people and ensuring we add value to all those who get involved.”
Future plans for the forums include guest speakers from local cookery schools, marketing support including websites and social media and attendance from Chesterfield Borough Council.
Peter Swallow, Destination Chesterfield Manager commented: “Chesterfield’s food and drink scene is thriving as evidenced by the annual Food and Drink Awards that have grown year on year since their launch in 2012. Launching the Forum was the next step in bringing together the many individuals and businesses that operate in the sector. The forum will enable them to work together to make the most of opportunities and also collectively find solutions for industry issues such as skills shortages. As the inaugural forum evidenced, together Chesterfield’s food and drink sector is definitely stronger.”
The next Chesterfield Food and Drink Forum will be held at The Tickled Trout on Wednesday 6 November.