HUDDERSFIELD Town’s promotion to the Premier League can attract jobs and investment to Yorkshire, provided local firms play their part by acting as ambassadors for the region, a major public debate was told.
The event, which featured representatives from Welcome to Yorkshire, Huddersfield Town and Kirklees Council, saw the launch of the #backinghuddersfield campaign, which encourages local people to spread the word about the benefits of living and working in the town. The panellists included Jacqui Gedman, the chief executive of Kirklees Council, who told The Yorkshire Post that she believed Town’s promotion to the Premier League would bring economic benefits.
She said: “I think it’s going to be a real game changer, and in some ways, it already has been. We’ve got people who are interested in investments in the town now talking to us with a bit more enthusiasm because they know about Huddersfield and the Premier League...What we’ve got to do is respond to that challenge and make sure we are open for business.
“We’ve always had people who do that (show an interest in investing in Huddersfield) but what we’ve had now is people coming from further afield. There’s quite a bit we need to do in terms of raising the profile.
“They’ve heard about West Yorkshire more broadly, and Leeds particularly, but on the back of the Premier League we will reach a different audience. Huddersfield is a great place to live and a great place to work, and one of the most beautiful places in the world.
“What we need are people who are advocates for the place, telling people about what we have got to offer.
She added: “It’s the people that will sell Huddersfield. It’s the businesses putting that message out to other businesses, which will have an impact.”
The breakfast briefing, which was held at the Revell Ward Suite at the John Smith’s stadium in Huddersfield, analysed how the town and football club have changed since Town gained promotion following a nail-biting penalty shoot-out at Wembley in May.
The other panellists, Sean Jarvis, the commercial director of Huddersfield Town and Sir Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, also urged local firms to collaborate in order to promote the town and its surrounding districts to a larger audience.
Sir Gary told the audience of 250 business people: “Huddersfield is on a roll, Yorkshire is on a roll”
Kirklees Council said it plans to seize on Huddersfield’s new found fame to attract developers and investors. The council is talking to the club to see how it can turn the heightened profile into investment. The council has also changed its “Welcome to Huddersfield” signs to reflect its pride in Town’s promotion to the top flight, and welcoming lamp-post banners have also been installed in the town’s St George’s Square.
Afterwards, Mr Jarvis said that Town’s Premier league status was a great opportunity for Huddersfield to raise its profile to an audience of more than three billion people.
He added: “We’ve proved we’re a Premier League Club, now let’s tell the world why we’re a premier town.”Huddersfield Town has joined forces with other Huddersfield-based business and cultural organisations to launch #backinghuddersfield.
Local people supporting the campaign have been urged to “wear our badge, carry our card and share our story”.
The club wants local people to show their support for the town by wearing a specially commissioned ‘H’ lapel pin badge and carrying a concertina business card which includes key facts about the town.
Lapel pins were given to all 250 businesses attending the business breakfast at the John Smith’s stadium, which had the title “Huddersfield Town - the impact of the first 100 days”.
The pins have also been given to other major Huddersfield-based organisations including the Mid-Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Kirklees Council and Huddersfield Choral Society.
The concertina business card highlights Huddersfield’s strong road and rail connections and the fact it has more than 250,000 businesses and an economy worth around £250bn on its doorstep. It also has a strong cultural scene and is the home of Huddersfield Choral Society.
The debate was chaired by Greg Wright, The Yorkshire Post’s deputy business editor. It was sponsored by Ridley & Hall Solicitors. The guests were encouraged to make donations to Kirkwood Hospice, Ridley and Hall’s charity partner.