Visit by MEP to Christchurch and East Dorset businesses

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By Com_Publisher | Friday, February 17, 2012, 16:19

Businesses and councils in Christchurch and East Dorset have welcomed a visit from a Member of the European Parliament who was keen to explore opportunities for European funding.

Julie Girling MEP, one of the three Conservative MEPs for the South West of England, met with senior representatives of Beagle Technology Group, Bournemouth Airport and one of the region's biggest employers, Cobham plc. The visit was arranged by Christchurch and East Dorset Councils who used the opportunity to raise the profile of the area as a business location and to help showcase the three businesses.

During the visit, Mrs Girling heard about the new Ocelot project at Beagle, which has already led to more than 50 new employees being taken on, and presented an apprenticeship of the Year award to Brett Hopkins. She was also told of plans by Bournemouth Airport to develop links to European hubs and other UK airports, as well as proposals to redevelop a large part of the Aviation Business Park which are already attracting interest from potential occupiers.

While visiting Cobham, she was briefed on recent contract awards from the USA and Brazil worth £100m that have led to the creation of 60 new jobs for people in Wimborne, working out of the company's new facilities, following a £15m investment.

Mrs Girling also met Dr Bruce Grant-Braham, a Board member of the recently formed Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), who outlined the important work that the LEP will be taking forward to grow the local economy in Dorset and create new jobs.

Following the visit, Mrs Girling said: "This was an extremely interesting visit and I was very impressed by the developments which are taking place for businesses in the area.

"I was pleased to let people know that there are more opportunities for European funding for businesses than may be realised. These include funding support for IT,  innovation, research and taking on graduates.

"I am continually impressed by local enterprise in Christchurch and East Dorset and will be visiting the area again to discuss other matters including the implications of rising sea levels and help for the fishing industry. I am also running a conference for small businesses in the area in June."

Businesses can find out more about European funding via or by contacting Mrs Girling's UK Assistant, Adele Marshall-Reynolds, by emailing

Cllr Colin Jamieson, Business and Tourism Portfolio Holder at Christchurch Borough Council said: "It was very encouraging to hear about the funding opportunities which may be available to businesses here. We will be exploring all of the avenues which Mrs Girling told us about to see how our local businesses can benefit from this wider funding."



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