Q. What is Cambridge Ahead?
A. Cambridge Ahead is a business and academic member group dedicated to the successful growth of Cambridge and its region in the long-term. We aim to deliver in a clear voice representing the business community, soundly-based opinion and advice to local and national governments about the opportunities and needs of the region. We also commission independent research. At any one time we have five or six specific initiatives with defined objectives and measurable outcomes.
Q. Cambridge already has lots of Member organisations, so why do we need another one?
A. Until we launched, there was no ‘single voice’ or over-arching organisation that could enable businesses and organisations to form an opinion on key issues, based on evidence and which crossed all sectors. We are that voice, and we advance those opinions and seek to influence local and national government.
Q. What area is covered by Cambridge Ahead?
A. We cover Cambridge and the sub-region with no absolute region being drawn, although you may find our Projects Area Map useful. To an extent it will depend on the initiative but the region includes those areas that have an immediate and direct impact on the economic and social heart of Cambridge.
Q. What have been the first projects since launch in November 2013?
A. We had three initial projects which constituted the group’s immediate priorities: Promoting Cambridge, Improving the Quality of Life and Growth. The first two have been completed and we now have five ongoing projects plus a separate initiative aimed at Government, The Case for Cambridge.
Q. How are these initiatives carried out and by whom?
A. A sub-committee exists for each initiative comprising at least one Board member and the CEO, and others drawn from the membership depending on skill expertise and interest. Typically, previous initiatives and existing plans are reviewed, members are then consulted and a report made to the full Board before the results are disseminated and promoted. Each initiative has identifiable milestones at the outset.
Q. How is Cambridge Ahead funded?
A. We are funded by Membership fees and in order to make these go as far as possible, Cambridge Ahead is a very low-overhead organisation. We launched with one employee – a full-time CEO. But we soon recruited an Office Manager to assist in the day-to-day running when the projects began to be established. We are financially responsible and accountable.
Q. How does Cambridge Ahead sit politically?
A. We are politically non-aligned.
Q. What is its relationship with local councils?
A. Cambridge Ahead has ongoing dialogue and meetings at the highest level with the local authorities and ensures that there is clear understanding on the relevant issues.
Q. How does it work with existing organisations?
A. Carefully and avoiding duplication, Cambridge Ahead’s mission and each initiative is scoped to ensure complete clarity as to its own boundaries and those of other organisations. Where appropriate Cambridge Ahead seeks to support and enhance existing organisations which may come to find that Cambridge Ahead gives them greater volume and clarity.
Q. Where is Cambridge Ahead located?
A. We occupy an office at the CB1 Business Centre at 20 Station Road, Cambridge – appropriately in the heart of the City.
Q. Who are the executive team and chairman at Cambridge Ahead?
A. The CEO is Jane Paterson-Todd MBA, assisted by Melanie Parkin, PA & Office Manager. The Chairman is Ian Mather, Head of Office – Cambridge of Mills & Reeve.