Forest Economic Partnership announces first Chairman

The newly formed Forest Economic Partnership has appointed local businessman Andrew Callard as its first Chairman.

Andrew has an extensive background in developing businesses in a number of sectors. As a member of the Forest of Dean Entrepreneurs Steering Group he has been actively involved with the Gloucestershire and Forest Growth Hubs as a business mentor and trainer.  He also has experience in training management, innovation and research & development projects, digital marketing and successful grant funding applications.  Andrew now works as a business coach and marketing strategy consultant. 

Andrew will be supported in his role by his Vice Chairman Councillor Richard Leppington, Cabinet Member for Development, Asset Management, Infrastructure and Housing.

Establishing a Forest Economic Partnership has been a priority for the Council.  It will act as a strategic body for businesses, the voluntary, education and other public sectors to help the district reach its economic potential and push to play a proactive role in the strategic planning and policy making in Gloucestershire.

Following his attendance at the Big Conversation event held on 1 February in Cheltenham, Andrew said: “The timing for the Forest Economic Partnership is good.  We have a great opportunity here to drive a compelling case for the Forest as our strategic partners are starting to prepare plans that could include a third crossing for the River Severn to serve the Forest.  Some take home thoughts for me were that the Partnership should seek to:

  • Connect across all sides of the Forest
  • Collaborate, we are stronger together with give and take between towns, areas and businesses
  • Compete economically and for resources locally, regionally and internationally
  • Commit to an agreed plan and to the parts we can play as individuals and organisations in creating that plan
  • Control our own destiny as the Forest within others' plans by acting now.”

The partnership will meet on a quarterly basis and the next meeting will take place on Monday 16 April.  The focus of the meeting will to be to establish the problems faced by businesses, residents and visitors and by working together what can be done to make things better.

Councillor Tim Gwilliam, Leader of the Forest of Dean District Council added: “We’re fortunate that Andrew has agreed to become the Chairman of the Forest Economic Partnership.  His drive, enthusiasm and knowledge will benefit the group greatly.  He also shares this Council’s aim to think big, be innovative and sustainable and above all, to give the Forest of Dean the voice as well as the economic and social status it deserves.  I very much look forward to the group achieving great things for the community under his Chairmanship.”

Councillor Richard Leppington, Cabinet Member for Development, Asset Management, Infrastructure and Housing and Vice Chairman of the Forest of Dean Economic Partnership concluded: “One of the aims of the cabinet is to secure well paid jobs in the district.  We will be looking to encourage high tech engineering companies to the area - we want to get the Forest making things again.”

For more information about the Economic Partnership or to register your attendance, contact Wendy Jackson, the District Council’s Regeneration Manager on 01594 812645 or email

Keep up-to-date with the news from the Forest Economic Partnership on social media by following #FOD2050



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