Ryde’s Annual Town Meeting Celebrating Ryde on Monday 24th April was a great success with over 52 residents attending. The event was an opportunity for the town to celebrate and highlight some of its key projects and developments. The Mayor of Ryde, Cllr Lilley, opened the evening with an update on the 2022-2023 council year and highlighted various activities and projects. Which included:
- Ryde Marina – continued development since acquisition from Isle of Wight Council in 2022.
- Supporting the community through the cost-of-living crises via a Ryde Community Development Forum.
- High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) Shop Front improvements and the future plans for improving the pedestrian zone.
One of the projects that received attention was the progress on St Thomas’ Church as the new home for Network Ryde. The Youth Manager for Network Ryde, Bex Swan, gave a presentation on the successful grant application award of £578,000 from the Youth Investment Fund. This funding will significantly improve Ryde’s Youth Service by adding more space and facilities. The new facility will create a safe, warm, and accessible space that will include showers and toilets, a kitchen, quiet and confidential spaces, and an indoor games area. An outdoor area will also be provided where wildlife will be encouraged to live alongside the facility. The building is expected to be completed and ready to open its doors to users by the summer of 2024.
Another project that was presented was the restoration of Appley Tower. Graham Biss of Natural Enterprise provided a presentation on the restoration initiative that will see the tower being brought back into public use as a viable and fully accessible asset to Ryde. The Heritage Lottery Fund has granted £248K for this project, and partner support from Ryde Town Council, the Isle of Wight Council and Natural Enterprise to match fund the Heritage Lottery Fund grant. The total projected project cost is £368K, and work is expected to be completed with the tower opening to the public before January 2025.
Sharon George and Joe Plumb also gave a presentation on the project for converting and developing their base in Cross Street Ryde into a creative and cultural space called ‘Department’. This will deliver various arts and cultural events and activities. There will also be new working and performance spaces, a shop and café (with an outdoor terrace) as well as providing a long-lasting home for Shademakers UK. The group has secured £1,969,458 of government funding to turn the store into a cultural venue and has submitted a planning application to the Isle of Wight Council for consideration.
Overall, the event was a great success and highlighted some of the exciting projects and developments taking place in Ryde.
If you would like to find out more about St Thomas’ Church, Appley Tower or Department, please visit their websites (links below)
Appley Tower – Appley Tower :: Natural Enterprise
Department – Department (department-ryde.org)