'POSITIVE Messaging' Needed To Help Tackle Inverclyde's Depopulation Problem

THE latest efforts to stop the fall in the number of people living in Inverclyde will focus on putting across a "positive message" about the area in a bid to increase jobs and investment.

Inverclyde Council has set aside £500,000 over the next three years towards tackling the problem. A 'Repopulation Group', including representatives from the council’s partners, has been formed and has come up with a plan based on an independent consultancy study which recommended actions most likely to reverse population decline.

A report to be considered by councillors states: "The key findings which emerged from the study were the need to improve marketing and communication, grow the housing market, achieve growth in the private sector, drive the concept of Inverclyde as a region for all people, improve infrastructure and brand Inverclyde as a centre for culture and leisure.

"There were specific concerns around the fragmented nature of marketing and the mixture of messages from different sources. The Group considered that it is particularly important for all partners to engage in agreed positive messaging of Inverclyde and this should be incorporated not just in press releases, but all corporate documents."

It continues: "The action plan seeks to deliver a number of initiatives across marketing, growing the housing market, growing local jobs and enabling infrastructure, creating a place for people of all ages and creating a centre for culture and leisure.

"The various actions require partnership working but will be led by the most relevant individual or organisation. The action plan describes the specific actions with associated timescales and includes a budget allocation. In line with the priorities identified by the Group, the most significant allocation is towards marketing and communication activities."

The action plan's overarching aim is to "halt and reverse the de-population of Inverclyde by 2025 through improving the employment, housing and infrastructure offer."

Specific objectives include:

• Develop and communicate an image for Inverclyde that reflects its many strengths and opportunities for residents, visitors and business

• Focus on attracting and retaining young people and families to live in Inverclyde

• Increase the level of private house building

• Increase the number of private sector jobs and the number of new start businesses

• Increase the contribution which the cultural and leisure assets in Inverclyde make to economic growth

• Maximise the potential of the workforce though engagement with young people, older workers and disadvantaged groups.

The total population in Inverclyde has reduced by 22 per cent from 1981 compared with a national increase of four per cent.

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