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reading 2020


people who see the world slightly differently having been through lockdown.


As the economic development company for Reading, Reading UK has been telling the compelling story of Reading’s success for more than a decade. Now it is incumbent on us to work with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that growth continues in the new world, but that it is also a smart, sustainable growth that appeals to the many people looking for a refreshing new way to live and work.


Reading UK’s board of directors are shaping the economic recovery strategy for Reading around the themes of Smart Reading, Inclusive Reading and Destination Reading. Here is a flavour of that plan in the words of three members of the Board.


Scott Witchalls, director urban places and smart cities, Stantec


“Innovation is at the heart of our plan and will be critical in supporting sustainable economic growth as we recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.


“We’ll be working to understand the benefits new technology could bring to enable smarter, inclusive and cleaner working and prioritising investment in more sustainable, lower carbon practices so we can create a smart-technology enabled economy. ‘Smart Reading’ is all about rejuvenating the most vulnerable sectors of our economy and our town centre, safe-guarding the health and wellbeing of our employees and continuing to build on the innovative, creative and entrepreneurial strengths of Reading so we can come out from this crisis stronger and smarter than before.”


Paul Newman, group executive director, Activate Learning


“Covid-19 will undoubtedly have an impact on Reading’s local workforce and labour market. During this time, we’ll need to work closely alongside our key partners and organisations within the community to help meet the immediate needs of local people who may be facing redundancy, unemployment and young people who may be approaching the workplace for the first time.


“This is an opportunity for us to work side by side, as One Reading, to support those most in need and to ensure the economic recovery of our town – for businesses and individuals.”


John McLaughlin, area general manager, Hilton


“Reading is still a great location for a visit or a ‘staycation’, a trend which may well be on the


THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE – JULY/AUGUST 2020 businessmag.co.uk 33


rise as less people travel and holiday abroad. With its great location in the middle of the Great West Way, Reading is a perfect base to explore both the town’s rich heritage and nearby attractions. ‘Destination Reading’ is about ensuring the economic recovery of our hospitality, retail and leisure businesses by positioning Reading as a welcoming, safe, smart, sustainable and cultural destination, now and in the future.


“The Covid-19 pandemic means we’re likely to see a shift in the way people live, work and travel, and we’ll need to recognise this as we look to safely reopen the town centre and responsibly re-engage with our leisure and business visitors.”


Nigel Horton-Baker


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