As Gatwick prepares to launch a public consultation on its growth plans, the airport has been speaking to businesses and business groups from across the region to identify the opportunities and challenges that come with the airport’s innovative proposals.
We are keen to involve key local stakeholders in the process as early as possible and our discussions are a way of keeping important local stakeholders fully informed and engaged during the planning process. The discussions also help us to identify areas that our growth plans can then contribute to.
One issue that frequently emerges from these discussions is the need to ensure that any economic benefits generated from the airport’s growth are shared widely across the region.
We have already showcased in Platinum Business Magazine a range of programmes that we have in place to help the local tourism sector, food and beverage producers and other potential airport suppliers. While these business sectors are potentially more obvious beneficiaries of Gatwick’s future growth, other airport programmes seek to reach other members of our community.
The Gatwick Foundation Fund and Gatwick Airport Community Trust
By delivering £2.7 billion of economic activity and 43,000 jobs, Gatwick is the region’s single biggest driver of economic growth and is recognised as the driving force behind much of the region’s tourism, trade and a range of other aviation-related industries.
While these sectors are likely to benefit directly from Gatwick’s future growth, our discussions with local business indicate that there is also a need to show that the economic impact of the airport’s growth can also be shared more widely across the region.
This is an issue we recognise as an airport. To tackle this, a range of airport programmes are in place that are designed to help share the benefits we generate more widely. Many of them purposely target help toward local young people, the elderly and other vulnerable groups.
The Gatwick Foundation Fund for example was set up in 2016 to distribute £300,000 of funding to local projects, community groups and charities across the region in three rounds of funding a year.
Total grants have just passed the £1 million mark in the latest round of funding and more than 200 organisations and close to 100,000 local people have benefitted so far.
The latest round of grants has been distributed across a diverse range of projects, including the Crawley based branch of Streetlight UK, which provides specialist support for women involved in prostitution, sexual exploitation and sex trafficking; Bloomin’ Arts which offers opportunities for people in Tandridge with learning disabilities; and The Forget Me Not Club in Crawley which provides help to carers of Dementia sufferers to help prevent them from becoming socially isolated.
Last year the Gatwick Airport Community Trust also awarded 97 grants to local projects across the region and the airport’s three official charity partners include Air Ambulance Kent Surrey and Sussex, St Catherine’s Hospice and Gatwick Travel Care, a group of volunteers who makes a real difference to hundreds of passengers in need every year.
Enhancing the local environment and inspiring young people
The Gatwick Foundation Fund and Gatwick Airport Community Trust are just two examples of community programmes that the airport has put in place to share the benefits it generates among local people and communities.
Other projects include those designed to enhance and protect the local
environment, including the airport’s sponsorship of South East in Bloom which saw over 300 communities take part, helping to boost community participation and social inclusion, and our three year partnership with Miles Without Stiles programme to increase the number of accessible walking routes in the South Downs for wheelchair users, families with pushchairs and less agile walkers.
We also run numerous programmes to help adults start or return to work, or inspire young minds and give local school children a more practical and clear understanding of what careers they might develop from studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.
It is important to us that as the airport continues to grow and thrive, that our local community grows and thrives also. We remain committed to meeting the needs of the community where it makes most difference and will continue to invest in community and voluntary projects that have a lasting, positive impact on as many local people as possible.
Some local projects supported in the latest round of Gatwick Foundation Fund grants
• Rotherfield St Martin (Wealden) a charity which aims to prevent loneliness amongst the elderly by providing companionship. Funding is for 40 social club meetings over a 12-month period.
• Streetlight UK (Crawley) provides specialist support for women involved in prostitution, sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. Grant will cover half the costs of a specialist woman’s support worker.
• Kangaroos (Arun) delivers fun and social activities for young people with learning disabilities. The grant will support BreakAway, the Saturday and holiday club for 12-18 year olds.
• Mid Sussex Voluntary Action (Burgess Hill) aims to promote and support charities and voluntary organisations. The grant will help fund the day-to-day activities of the group including the accessible town centre community room and training courses for members
• The Forget Me Not Club (Crawley), helps carers of Dementia sufferers so that they don’t feel alone. Grant funds will go towards the salary of a part time carer.
• Disability Access (East Grinstead) promotes equal rights and access for all people with any form of disability or mobility problem. Grant money is going towards the mobility equipment loan service and the visually impaired readers group.
• 4th Youth Limited (Horsham) provides fun and informal learning environments for over 400 young people. This funding will help employ two youth support workers.
• Bloomin’ Arts (Tandridge) offers opportunities for people with learning disabilities to enjoy, perform and work in the arts. The money will support a craft project to enable adults with learning disabilities to create craft products for sale.