Conference provides platform to engage on challenges and opportunities

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The second Isle of Man Government Conference took place at the Villa Marina in Douglas this week (Wednesday-Thursday 20-21 September), with more than 750 people taking the opportunity to engage with Ministers on the challenges facing the Island.

The two-day event built on the success of last year’s inaugural conference, with feedback leading to the launch being held on Wednesday evening, 6pm to 9pm, to enable those working during the day to attend.

Those unable to make it to the venue could follow events across the Isle of Man Government social media channels, and improved coverage supplied greater accessibility to live updates and session highlights. Over the course of the two-day event, channels recorded more than 256,000 engagements and interactions, reaching an audience of 103,000 people.

The opening sessions in the Royal Hall were dedicated to the theme of education and skills and followed the success of the Island’s first Youth Summit attended by more than 1,100 students earlier in the day.

Well-attended and lively question-and-answer sessions were also held in the Broadway Cinema on Wednesday evening, with Chief Minister Alfred Cannan MHK, Treasury Minister Dr Alex Allinson MHK and Health and Social Care Minister Lawrie Hooper MHK all fielding questions from the public on a range of topics.

Thursday welcomed hundreds more people for a busy full day’s programme across three venues covering the conference’s remaining themes of finance and budgets, and housing and infrastructure.

A major announcement was made around plans to redevelop three brownfield sites, which have been approved in principle for funding from the Island Infrastructure Scheme and will be supported by private sector investment of nearly £50m.

Later in the day, plans revealed on Tuesday to explore the creation of a housing association were the subject of an in-depth presentation from external consultants, followed by a panel session and questions from the audience.

Presentations also took place around the venue on fiscal resilience, energy efficiency, major infrastructure projects, renewable energy, the future of healthcare and models for residential care, attracting feedback and engagement from those attending.

Meanwhile, the Department for Enterprise updated the public with a series of workshops on the activity of its Digital, Business, Finance and Visit Isle of Man agencies, and a session also took place to provide guidance for small businesses on Value Added Tax.

Chief Minister Alfred Cannan MHK said: ‘I’d like to thank everyone who attended over the two days for their interest and engagement, and look forward to hearing about what they felt worked and how the event may be improved in the future.

‘Events of this type are so important in allowing this administration to explain face-to-face the efforts being made to deliver the aims of Our Island Plan. Perhaps more importantly, they provide a platform for people to engage and challenge us on what’s happening and let us know about the issues that matter to them.’

For conference reaction, feedback and suggestions, take part in the online survey here:


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