...is the Market Town Partnership for the small, but fast growing fenland City of Ely and the surrounding villages for which it is a service centre. Located in the district of East Cambridgeshire, 16 miles north of Cambridge, Ely is home to some 17,500 people and boasts potentially the best Norman Cathedral in the country with the beautiful River Great Ouse separating the City from low-lying fenland.
Formed in 1998 as the "Ely Forum" recognising the urgent need for regeneration, the Perspective label was soon adopted. As one of the first communities to carry out a Health Check in 2001, a plan led it to be custodian to £250k from the then Countryside Agency's Market Town Initiative Fund. Combined with match and levered in monies from other sources, almost £800k was invested in regeneration of the City and area around. Visitor management, art projects, broadband connectivity, community access points, Park and Ride and repaving parts of the City Centre are just a few projects resulting from this intervention.
When the funding ceased, to build on the success of the voluntary effort, concentrate on becoming more self sufficient and open up wider opportunities for funding, the Perspective restructured, and became a Company Limited by Guarantee in Autumn 2005.
Members are all volunteers from in and around the City giving up their time and using their skills and expertise to build on the character and distinctivness making it an even better place for the whole community to live, work and play.
Individuals or residents, representatives from other clubs, groups, societies, voluntary or community organisations, or people from business and the public sector are all welcome as members. The more people who get involved, the truer and more respected the Perspective’s voice becomes.
The group seeks to improve and develop Ely in ways which will benefit residents, visitors and businesses alike. It's main objectives are to:
1. Raise the profile of Ely locally, nationally and internationally to attract more visitors and inward investment.
2. Encourage visitors to stay longer, explore further and therefore contribute more to the local economy.
3. Build a thriving local economy through initiatives to support and encourage local businesses working to ensure locally earned money is spent and reinvested locally.
4. Work with partners to ensure the city is well cared for with the right facilities to make it attractive for residents and visitors to return again and again, including well organised access, car parking, public transport and tourist information.
The Perspective's 100 or so volunteers and partner organisations, meet regularly in four working groups, using evidence to instigate, organise and deliver projects and influence actions, policies and strategies of others. These activities are co-ordinated in an annually refreshed Action Plan and directed by an Executive Committee headed by the group's Chairman, Ian Burton-Palmer, supported by the Chairs of the working groups and other local "champions".
The working groups are:
Design Group:Looking at the City environment and transport issues. Chaired by Sheila Friend-Smith and normally meeting at 1830 on 3rd Tuesday of the month at St Peters Church Room, Broad Street, Ely.
Riverside Group:Working on ambitious ideas to improve, maintain and plan for the future of the riverside area of the City. Chaired by John Yates and normally meeting at 1830 on 2nd Tuesday of the month at Babylon Gallery, Waterside, Ely.
A fourth, and cross cutting working group, responding to the pressures of climate change has recently been formed:
Making Ely Greener:Encourages initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases. Chaired by Philip Eden meeting about every 6 weeks in City of Ely Council Chamber, Market Street, Ely.