Yorkshire Day and a blueprint for our region’s future – The Yorkshire Post says

THIS YORKSHIRE Day takes on national – and international – significance as the county responds to the human and financial toll of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This stunning photo by Charlotte Graham of sunrise at Whitby on the hottest day of the year accompanies A Blueprint for Yorkshire's Future that is being launched by The Yorkshire Post. ByLine: Charlotte Graham. Copyright: @2020 CAG Photography Ltd.

It will require all of this county’s ingenuity – and much more – to counter the deepest recession in history and respond to the economic heartbreak still unfolding in our communities.

And it is why The Yorkshire Post is launching a week-long initiative, A Blueprint for Yorkshire’s Future, today, to harness longstanding pride in the county and galvanise the region’s recovery.

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An agenda-setting project, it is also one of the most important in the history of this newspaper, and region, if Yorkshire is to emerge from coronavirus, and lockdown, with new-found poise and purpose.

The view from the top of Sutton Bank is synonymous with Yorkshire. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

It will feature in-depth analysis on the key issues – expert insight from the key policy-makers and a bespoke focus on our market towns, the embodiment of our county, and how they can prosper as families, more so than ever, appreciate the value of local shops, produce, services and businesses. The special six-part series begins today with Malton.

Specifically, it will examine the current challenges – and new opportunities – for an economy which encompasses industries as varied as pioneering green energy and cutting edge manufacturing to artisan food producers and excellence in agriculture.

And our journalism will look at the longer-term impact of Coronavirus on issues like work-life balance and the environment – the premise being that this dreadful tragedy is presenting opportunities for societal change and a new way of life as home working becomes the ‘new normal’ for a great many.

Yet Yorkshire finds itself at this crossroads after decades of under-investment in key infrastructure; a decade of austerity and joblessness, specifically youth unemployment, now outstripping the national average – all in the shadow of Brexit.

The Yorkshire Post's Blueprint for Yorkshire's Future will include a daily focus on market towns like Bawtry.

Time is not on this region’s side if its global innovation – like the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre on the site of the former Orgreave colliery– is to be sustained alongside specific work at local level to prevent a generation of young people, this county’s future, being scarred by long-term unemployment.

A legacy of previous recessions, Robert Halfon, chair of Parliament’s Education Select Committee, will have some very succinct advice in Monday’s edition. “Our country’s anthem should not just be “build, build, build” but “skills, skills, skills,” he will venture.

We concur. It’s a strong – even sobering – message on a day when this county’s 5.3 million residents are accustomed to celebrating their pride in Yorkshire and basking in the glory of its past and present heroes.

Yet it is also one which offers pragmatic – and practical – help and hope at a time when thousands of families are mourning loved ones who have died due to Covid-19. Their losses remain uppermost in the county’s thoughts.

Don't miss The Yorkshire Post on Monday for a compelling column by Robert Halfon, chair of the Education Select Committee, on how Yorkshire can be at the vanguard of a skills revolution.

No part of this uniquely diverse county – urban and rural, inner city and coast – has been left unblemished by Covid-19 and subsequent economic lockdown. Indeed, the threat to public health remains very real, as Thursday night’s hastily announced local lockdowns across the county and North testify.

But the collective response of key workers – embodied by the NHS and our carers – and Yorkshire’s renowned community spirit has shown that this county is at its strongest when it pulls together as one.

And, as such, the area’s global ambitions must not be compromised by the parochialism, rivalries and jealousies of the past as more political and policy powers are devolved from Whitehall to the region.

Exactly six months after the UK’s first Covid-19 cases were confirmed in York, it is an appropriate time to mobilise grassroots opinion and start a conversation about Yorkshire’s short, medium and long-term future.

In the coming days and weeks, we will be seeking the views of all those who live – and work – here to establish their priorities in a post-pandemic world and how these can be translated into tangible policy improvements.

We will also work with local, regional and national leaders to ensure that Yorkshire is ready, willing and able to lead Britain’s national recovery and, in turn, enable the Northern Powerhouse to become a global success story envisaged for so long.

That work begins today – and we know we will be able to count on your support throughout the next week, and beyond, as Yorkshire presses the ‘reset’ button and faces up to the future challenges and opportunities with resilience and confidence.

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson