The first challenge for the new Community Rail Partnership is to agree on a name/identity for the partnership, something which all partners across the four counties of our region will feel part of. This is no small task, given the diversity of our region and the separate brands and identities already in use by each county and local area. Having initially suggested a selection of possible names reflecting the values and USPs emerging from previous conversations, we were grateful for the input of participants at our recent online meeting, who all agreed that the attempt to unify everyone under a new brand would be futile – because we are all so different! And because visitors and residents will identify with different messages and ideas.
So the consensus arising out of a wide ranging and useful discussion, was to keep it simple! We are South West Wales – nothing more and nothing less. We agreed that if partners across all four counties would get into the habit of locating themselves in “South West Wales”, this in itself would be a major step forward.
The theme of CONNECTION and CONNECTIVITY was also popular and meaningful to members of the temporary steering group, and could have a number of interpretations. It relates to transport and travel connectivity – an integrated travel network etc. It relates to collaboration and joined-up working. And it can also be used in a flexible way to encompass other themes, sectors and values – connected to well-being, connected to education, connected to business etc etc.
So, where we got to after an hour of conversation, was general support for collaboration under the geographic banner of SOUTH WEST WALES, and for the CRP name to include the word “CONNECTED” to signify the purpose and ambition of the partnership.
If partners and collaborators across the region shared the view that joined-up working and regional co-promotion is generally beneficial, they could begin to incorporate the words “South West Wales” into their own communications and branding, signifying their “belonging” to the region and demonstrating a willingness to collaborate with, and through, the new Community Rail Partnership. No doubt some will object passionately to the idea, preferring to stand alone and do things their own way, and that’s absolutely fine! But, perhaps, over time, more and more businesses, organisations and destinations will see the benefit of working together under a shared geographic identity. We think that would be wonderful. What do you think??
To listen to the discussion and understand how we came to this decision for the CRP, check out the report from our first steering group meeting here: https://www.4theregion.org.uk/crp-temp-steering-group-meeting/