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Farnborough International Marketing & Communications Director, Andrew Pearcey details the wider impact of the Farnborough International Airshow on the local community.
For some, the Farnborough International Airshow is perceived as this big noisy event that turns up every two years, causes a week of disruption then disappears again making little contribution to the local area.
At the same time we’ve also heard the words, ‘Brilliant’, ‘a great day’, ‘a fab weekend’ and ‘loved every second of it”.
Obviously there are always very different opinions, and we take on board all comments to gain a real perspective of how well the show has performed.
Outside of the show itself, as organisers for the Farnborough International Airshow trade and public weekend, we go to great lengths to ensure that our local community benefits as much as possible from the show.
In planning and developing the show, Farnborough International awards contracts valued at over £2m to local contractors. Of the 127 official contractors that we appoint, 41 companies located with 25 miles of the show and 12 are from Farnborough and Aldershot.
Furthermore, the event is a major employer. While Farnborough International may only directly employ some 40 people, in the build-up and during the show, it employed a further 26 staff in a variety of support roles. As well as those directly employed by our contractors and local hoteliers, we also recruited over 380 staff to work at the show on behalf of our exhibitors. According to research carried out after the 2014 show, the airshow provided an estimated 286 FTE jobs across the local economy.
As well as contributing to the local economy, we also make every effort to contribute to the local community. The local schools colouring competition in conjunction with the Red Arrows bought a great deal of excitement and engagement from infant, junior and primary schools in the Farnborough and Aldershot area. We saw over 2,000 entries participating with the Red Arrows visiting the two winning schools.
Winning entrant, Kanah Sharma from Pinewood Infant School said of their win “I knew someone in my school had won and I was so excited when I realised it was me!”
The colouring competition was just one example of how Farnborough International connected with the local community during the airshow.
Farnborough Airshow Radio saw students from Farnborough College of Technology working with radio professionals to run the radio station at this year’s show.Working with students from University of the Creative Arts, Farnham, providing them vital work experience of a real project to create visitor engagement at the show. Students developed designs for Selfie-Boards to be placed around the show site for visitors to take ‘selfies’ with and share on social media.
Farnborough International has also had a long standing relationship with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight wing of the Air Training Corps which has seen 608 air cadets from 14 different squadrons volunteering at the show. Air Cadets have been helping at the show since 1990 and their assistance goes toward achieving their BTEC in Aviation and Public Services qualifications.
For the first time at the 2016 show, Farnborough International also recruited a small army of volunteers to help behind the scenes at the show. Acting as the visitor face of Farnborough the Farnborough Flyers performed a vital role at the show. We hope the experience has proved a memorable one and helped our volunteers stand-out in a competitive job market.
The Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST) and its willing band of volunteers work hard at the FAST Museum to remind visitors of Farnborough’s rich aviation heritage. Farnborough International championed FAST’s efforts with an exhibit at the show providing them an opportunity to promote the museum and raise vital funds.
Similarly, we also supported the Brooklands Museum with an exhibit at the show. As a local museum with a vast aviation collection whose aims are to inspire and educate future generations, their presence at the show helped promote the charitable trust whilst adding valuable content to the show.
During the public weekend of the show, working with the Barry Wells Trust Boxes for Kids initiative, a number of exhibitors gave up their chalet to the charity to provide children from local hospices and their families a VIP experience at the show. We pulled out all the stops to make their day extra special by organising visits from the Red Arrows, television presenter Angellica Bell and the Breitling WingWalkers.
Finally, Farnborough International is a member of the Community Matters Partnership Project (CMPP), a local group of companies and organisations that work together as a local network to engage with and support their local community all year round, not just during the show. Over the past few years we have supported the CMPP through voluntary activities and raffle prizes.
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