The Forest Economic Partnership (FEP) was launched in 2018 by the FoDDC. Its mission is to deliver a thriving economy in the Forest of Dean District by connecting business, Councils, people, ideas and resources. Through its meetings a range of essential issues that affect all in the district are being discussed to identify problems and issues. Where more information is required or solutions are proposed these are put forward as projects for approval by the Stakeholder Group.
FEP’s focus is on considered action that benefits the whole district economically not upon just talking. This approach is working well and is recognised by others. In December 2018 FEP won the Most Innovative Small Business Campaign from the Gloucestershire and West of England FSB; while in April 2019 its evidence-based approach to problem solving was cited as a case study in the House of Lords Report on the Rural Economy.
Already over 200 organisations/individuals participate in our quarterly Stakeholder Group or 3 sub-group meetings. The stakeholder group is open to anyone who lives, works, plays or studies in the Forest of Dean District or is interested in participating in FEP’s activities. To find out more or to register your interest to receive emails please contact FEP@fdean.gov.uk.
The three current sub-groups focus on areas of particular challenge to the District. They are shown with their individual missions below. To find out more click on the titles.
- Education & Skills. Within a lifelong learning context, how do we get the workforce we need for the District now and in the future to power and sustain economic growth by removing barriers and raising aspirations.
- Bridges & Borders; Infrastructure & Transport. The District Plan guides future development that gives us the space to work, live and play. Once those uses are known we can consider the transport routes in the District to enable them become fit for purpose. What is the practical new vision that defines the Forest we want to be and the balance between the use of space?
- The Severn and Wye have preserved the Forest. The best future protection is connection with all those around us to ensure a mutual understanding of economic needs. Looking outwards, what do we need and want to trade for bridges; participation in the South Wales-West of England economic powerhouse; and neighbours' plans.
- Digital Connectivity. We are told we live in a digital world. What practical steps can we take to get the speed, reliability and connectivity to support the ways we increasingly work, live, study and play now and in the future.
FEP Community Interest Company
In 2019, it became clear that in order to bid for funds to support projects that the FEP needed to gain a legally accountable status so a Community Interest Company (CIC) was formed. This is a not-for-profit organisation that balances the different funding streams necessary to submit bids to funding bodies that support the vital costs of projects.
Directors volunteer to serve on the board which meets monthly or bi-monthly to monitor progress. The CIC is able to have up to 12 Company Directors. Any stakeholder may volunteer for the Board subject to confirmation at a quarterly Stakeholder Meeting.