IN LESS than five months time, Milton Keynes will have a unique opportunity to show the world how it has literally risen from out of the farm fields of Buckinghamshire to become the economic, cultural and political powerhouse not only of the county, but also the wider region.
MK50, the project around the celebration in 2017 of a half century since the city’s official designation, should be a showcase of where Milton Keynes has come from, where we are now and where we are going.
Plans are in place and growing and last year Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership was given an enthusiastic and comprehensive preview of these by project manager Lallie Davis and colleague Shane Downer. Both wanted the business community to get on board.
We were keen to become involved and were encouraged to hear that Milton Keynes Council had put £100,000 worth of support on the table to attract further money from the Lottery, trusts, various foundations and from the business community.
With any project like this there is inevitably a ‘chicken or egg’ situation, a potential time of inertia where would-be supporters will want to see who else has thrown their hat in the ring before they will commit. Having the commitment of the council was a good sign.
The success of MK50 requires the commitment of the whole community and this needs to be co-ordinated in an acceptable manner in order to make it a success and the council must lead this enthusiasm with unequivocal commitment.
Businesses have an interest in supporting MK50 but that must inevitably be related to how they do business in the city.
It is also unavoidably true that the level of their financial commitment will be measured by the impact it has upon themselves.
Lallie and Shane highlighted in their presentation the real benefits that supporting arts, culture and heritage can have for business.
MK50 also needs real leadership. We all have a responsibility to make MK50 a resounding success so let us look at constructive and innovative ways of achieving this great milestone.
We need a justifiable well-presented celebration of what has been achieved as well as it being a worthwhile investment in Milton Keynes’ future success.