Stakeholders from across the Kent rural business community came together last week to hear from keynote speakers and to air their questions on a range of vital current issues.
The Rural Business Forum was organised by Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant at the Kenward Conference Centre in Kenward House, Yalding.
A packed conference hall heard from DEFRA Environment Minister Therese Coffey on Brexit preparations, Kent Police and Crimes Commissioner Matthew Scott on rural crime, Barclays Digital Engagement Champion Alex Douglas on cyber fraud, and Andrew Clarke from Gullands Solicitors on some of the legal preparations rural businesses need to consider as Brexit approaches.
Helen Grant said 'Amidst all of the political drama last week it was great to be able to offer something tangible for our rural community to hook into and there was something new for everyone to take away'.
'The event was also a great opportunity to promote the work of the Kenward Trust who provide vital drug, alcohol and homelessness rehabilitation services for very vulnerable individuals. We held a little raffle and guests were very generous. Alongside significant donations from Gullands, Barclays and the NFU we raised £1000 for the Trust which was a super result'.
Kenward Trust chief executive Penny Williams said 'It was our pleasure to welcome Helen and such a range of businesses from the rural sector to Kenward House Conference Centre. We are delighted that, as well discussing the most important issues facing our rural communities, the event also raised a hugely welcome sum of money for our charity. Thank you to everyone who supported the forum, I can assure you that money will be put to excellent use in providing rehabilitation and support services to those who need them most.'
DEFRA minister Therese Coffey MP said 'Helen's business forum event was a great chance for me to take in some feedback from a wide section of the rural Weald community. From Brexit to Broadband there was plenty of food for thought!'