Douglas is a town driven by the Council’s vision to become ‘a town for everyone’, and one ‘that works for the community at large’ the Mayor of Douglas, Councillor John Skinner JP, has said.
His Worship was speaking at the annual Mayor’s business lunch at Douglas town hall where guests heard him refer to the Council’s ‘ambitious vision’ to engage and work with all sectors of the community. ‘Not only with retailers and businesses, but also with our government partners, with schools, with youth, sports and performing arts groups and, importantly, with the voluntary or third sector, agencies which are fast becoming increasingly more recognised and in demand for their expertise and closer understanding of the people they serve.’
The Council was committed to gaining a better understanding of what its customers wanted. His Worship explained: ‘The Council is listening and responding to what the people of Douglas are telling us so that, together, we can create a town for everyone.’
He took the opportunity to acknowledge the support of his wife, Mrs Gill Skinner, the Mayoress of Douglas, and said they had been ‘privileged and humbled’ to meet many dedicated men, women and young people who were contributing to the community of Douglas and who, collectively, were helping to make ‘Douglas: A Town for Everyone’ become a reality.
He praised the many local businesses helping to make Douglas the island’s destination of choice for work, leisure and investment. This led him to refer to the Douglas Customer Service Award, introduced by the Council to celebrate customer-facing professionals ‘helping to deliver an exceptional Douglas experience’.
Turning to schools and youth groups in the Borough he praised them for bringing forth ‘outstandingly talented young people, every one of whom in their own unique is a worthy ambassador, not only for their generation, but also for our town and our island’.
He said that among moves to render the town’s social fabric all the more inclusive was the Council’s investment in a sheltered housing complex in Willaston to supplement Hazel Court in Pulrose and the re-introduction its apprenticeship scheme, the latter offering young people ‘a ladder of opportunity to be the best they can’.
Expanding on the theme he went on to say: ‘During our year of mayoral engagements Gill and I have witnessed just how transformational a ladder of opportunity can be, especially when it comes to empowering young people with special needs.’
Citing the example of the Annie Gill training cafeteria at University College Isle of Man, he said students’ skills, however modest, were being developed, talent unlocked and self-confidence boosted, ‘so that these young men and women become equipped to make a very real contribution, not only to our community but also to the island’s workforce and economy.
For the Council, inclusivity defined how it operated as a provider of services and as an employer, prompting His Worship to say: ‘It is only by pursuing an inclusive approach that the future collective economic and social wellbeing of Douglas can be secured.
In closing he said: ‘By engaging and working with every sector of the community, making the most of what everyone can contribute, I believe that through the power of public and private cooperation, we can make a positive social and economic impact and create a town that truly is for everyone.’