THIS time last year Switch On To Swindon hadn’t yet been unleashed on the world and along with preparing for Christmas the SOTS team were busy finalising details for a New Year launch of the campaign.

The premise was simple – if we could mobilise businesses, organisations and individuals to come together and promote Swindon then the economy would grow and everyone would benefit.

Little did we know just how enthusiastically people would embrace the campaign and get behind it.

We set the bar really high from the off with a stunning event at Audi where we planned for about 250 people and were delighted to welcome more than 550. And that really set the tone for the rest of the year and the following stats and facts speak for themselves:

  • More than 1400 people have attended SOTS organised our events throughout the year n More than 570 people have signed up as SOTS Ambassadors representing over 380 businesses and organisations
  • We have had 250,000 views of the Swindon In Motion campaign film, produced by Swindon based Create Studios;
  • Sixteen In A Great Place stories from our Ambassadors were published n We have been invited to present and talk about the campaign at more than 50 events and businesses 
  • More than 100 individual meetings with businesses in Swindon looking to grow or from outside of Swindon looking to invest.

Swindon now has a powerful and enthusiastic network of ambassadors who are actively promoting the town as a great place to do business, to live and work in under the SOTS banner.

It has been a successful first year and we now feel a real sense of responsibility to all of those who have supported the campaign to date.

The goodwill, support, time and energy that people have contributed to date has enabled us to build a solid foundation for the future.

Building momentum is one thing – it’s what you do with it that counts. In 2018 we will be taking the Switch On To Swindon campaign outside of the borough boundaries in earnest. We will be working with existing businesses to help recruit and retain the most talented individuals.

We will be making the most of Swindon’s economic strengths and targeting those key sectors with the most potential for growth. And we will be working hard to attract the right investment to support Swindon’s growth and regeneration.

Next year promises to be an exciting one in terms of Swindon’s landscape. Detailed plans will be coming forward for the £270m leisure destination, including a ski slope.

The ambitious plans for the Science Museum, at Wroughton, will start taking shape and further progress will be made to the Carriage Works redevelopment.

And we will be eagerly anticipating the decision from the Heritage Lottery Fund on the bid that the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Trust have submitted for funding to support the landmark new building.

Throughout the year I’ve learnt a lot more about Swindon’s past, present and future. Along the way I’ve met so many people who are passionate about the place.

If we continue to harness that passion and positively promote the town then only good things can happen.