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Central Forum

The Central Suffolk forum allows Chamber members in the area to come together and discuss local opportunities and issues.

Forum finds out about skills and advanced manufacturing in Eye

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce's Central Suffolk Forum met in Eye to discuss solutions to skills challenges and find out how one company in a rural part of Suffolk has brought together a highly skilled team to build a world leading business.

Renvale provides world leading wiring harness design and manufacturing services to the automotive and motorsport industries and are diversifying into other sectors such as marine and defence. Stephen James founded Renvale in 2009, at Wetheringsett after working as a race engineer in the UK and America and working for his father's company. Renvale moved into its brand new multi-million pound HQ in Eye in 2019.

Stephen gave forum members a tour of the HQ, showing the complex nature of the work Renvale is doing for F1 racing teams. Stephen also told forum members about the skills and training that Renvale staff need to design, manufacture and bespoke wiring harness solutions and other complex electronic products.

Carrie Barrett, Learning & Development Manager, Gressingham Foods talked to forum members about the innovative solutions that another rurally based business is using to attract and retain the people the company needs. Lucy Emms, Business Development Manager, Suffolk New College explained how Suffolk and Norfolk Chambers of Commerce's Local Skills Improvement Plan was resulting in a £4.75 million investment in skills improvement projects across Norfolk and Suffolk. Members then discussed some of the skills challenges they are facing and Sara Hinchliffe, Suffolk Chamber's Skills & Training Officer gave advice on potential solutions.

Dr Peter Funnell, Director of Oakmere Solutions Ltd and Central Suffolk Forum Chair said 'It was great to visit Renvale to share knowledge and learn from experience. Businesses constantly experience skills challenges but as the discussion at our meeting demonstrated, with the support of Suffolk Chamber, the engagement of its members and the proactive contribution of training providers, many of the challenges can be addressed and overcome.'


Picture: Stephen James, Renvale CEO with the Renvale R102S steering wheel

Suffolk Chamber members in Central Suffolk visited the energy from waste plant at Great Blakenham. Chamber members gained a better understanding of why the plant incinerates Suffolk's non-recyclable waste to generate electricity, rather than sending it to landfill.

Before a tour of the plant, Chamber members discussed the future direction of Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils with Councillor Andrew Mellen, Leader of Mid Suffolk District Council. Chamber members also discussed the importance of social value and how Suffolk businesses are creating social value for communities across Suffolk. 

View the two presentations here:

Social Value - Central Suffolk Place Forum

Facing a Different Future? - Councillor Andrew Mellen

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