Switch On To Swindon (SOTS) is a campaign designed to challenge some of the unfair perceptions of the town and promote Swindon to ensure the economy prospers.

From day one we committed to promoting Swindon with integrity and honesty which means we must recognise where there are challenges and do what we can to tackle them.

However, we also committed to be unapologetically proud of this great place that we live and work in.

It is important then to understand how we compare to other places in the country and where we have strengths to build on. This not only validates our campaign messaging but also shows where we can target our efforts in the future.

The release of the annual Good Growth index from Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) last week was eagerly anticipated by all in the SOTS team.

Good growth is exactly what Swindon is aspiring too, employment led housing growth that creates connected communities where people have a great quality of life.

Factors in the index include employment, health, income, skills, housing affordability, owner occupation, transport, environment and new business start-ups.

So, the headline is that Swindon remains one of the top ten urban areas for economic wellbeing in the United Kingdom. Yes, top ten.

Swindon stood out in particular in the areas of unemployment, personal income, long-term sickness, the skill level of those above 25 and the number of new businesses created.

Now, those of us who call Swindon home, or work here or run a business here know how good it is. Connectivity, affordability, opportunity and quality of life are all strengths we need to build on and promote to those outside.

Reports like the ‘Good Growth’ index give us even more to work with and it is well worth a read - www.pwc.co.uk/government-public-sector/good-growth/assets/pdf/2017-good-growth-for-cities.pdf

Our first ambassadors’ newsletter published last week was really well received and is part of our promise to keep engaged with our ambassadors on a more regular basis alongside our events and social media channels.

If you are not already part of the SOTS ambassador network then go to www.switchontoswindon.com and sign up.

As part of the network you will get invites to a whole series of exciting events that showcase some of the great businesses and organisations in Swindon while giving you the opportunity to connect with people.

Information about our Christmas party will follow in next week’s column and in the meantime we are gearing up for a night with a real difference this weekend.

Surprise and delight is one of the SOTS campaign brand values and on Saturday night 300 of our Ambassadors will be descending on the Link Centre to watch the Swindon Wildcats ice hockey team play.

For many it will be the first experience of ice hockey and some are using it as an opportunity for a team outing, to entertain clients or to bring the family along.

Don’t forget that the biggest town centre event of the year is happening on the same night. The Christmas lights switch-on is always a brilliant even. Visit www.swindontowncentre.co.uk/news/christmas-lights-2017.