A new campaign to encourage the rest of the world to Discover our Land and promote Northumberland as a place to live, work, visit and invest has been launched today.
Story-telling, in terms of making sure people learn what Northumberland is all about, is at its heart as it aims to build a community of people to champion everything that is great about the county.
“Pride, passion, ambition and focus, that’s what I hope you will see,” said Coun Cath Homer, cabinet member for culture, libraries, leisure and tourism at Northumberland County Council. “For too long, we have been the country’s best-kept secret, for too long we have allowed other people to tell our story.”
The launch comes on the back of Northumberland being named the Best UK Holiday County/Destination of the Year, and will shine a light on the county as somewhere to visit, to raise a family, to build a career and to establish, invest and grow a business.
Northumberland County Council’s leader, Coun Peter Jackson, said: “Northumberland is the place for prosperity and innovation. We are a county that boasts international leaders in industry, investment-ready locations, welcoming communities, a rich history and proud heritage, and globally significant tourist attractions, culture and landscapes.
“It’s an exciting time for change in Northumberland and our ambition for economic growth reflects this.”
Discover our Land was unveiled to the Northumberland business community today at Close House, near Heddon-on-the-Wall, and is being backed by businesses big and small with a presence in the county, including Hepple Gin, Tharsus, DeepOcean and Northern Wilds.
The business-centric approach of the launch reflects that the focus of this campaign is far wider than just attracting tourists and visitors.
Encouraging start-ups, business growth and international trade in Northumberland is one of the key aims of the campaign, which will showcase some of the county’s leading businesses to inspire more entrepreneurs to create jobs and economic prosperity.
A number of campaign stars, which feature in a series of videos, have already been signed up, including Blyth Tall Ships, Kielder Dark Sky Park, Tharsus, Newcastle International Airport and The Old Boat House Group.
A dedicated Discover our Land website will act as a shopfront to all that’s great about Northumberland and be the content hub for the digital-led campaign that will be run across social media, and national and regional online media channels.
Coun Homer said: “Our approach has focused on promoting Northumberland in a new way, of telling a strong and bold story about what we have to offer and what makes us unique.
“We’ve been on a journey of discovery ourselves and we’ve unearthed some amazing and inspirational stories – of success, of ideas, of adventure and of community – but most of all stories of pride.
“Everyone should have the opportunity to contribute and feel proud to be involved in the campaign and we’ll be using social media to spread the word as told by those that know best, putting our people at the very heart of Discover our Land.”
Campaign ambassadors who spoke at the launch included Close House owner Graham Wylie CBE; award-winning businessman Brian Palmer, from Blyth-based Tharsus Group; Tony Gates, Northumberland National Park’s chief executive; and James Rambotham CBE, chief executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce.
They were joined by renowned entrepreneur and former Newcastle United chairman Sir John Hall and Caroline Theobald CBE for a panel discussion.
Coun Jackson added: “Today, we invited leading businesses to back Discover our Land to make sure they benefit from growing interest in Northumberland, that helps them flourish and grow, employ local people who are proud to work there, attract new talent that want to build a career and live here.
“We believe the time is now for Northumberland and we’re inviting others to play their part.”
For more information on Discover our Land, visit www.discoverourland.co.uk and follow @discovernland on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service