Marlborough Express - Worthwhile discussion After 5

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

It was my pleasure to host a Marlborough Chamber of Commerce Business After 5 function at my Blenheim office recently.

The chamber holds these networking evenings regularly at different businesses across Blenheim.

It was a very worthwhile and successful evening with about 60 people gathering for a mix and mingle, hot ham, nibbles and Marlborough wine.

I very much enjoyed the valuable opportunity to speak with so many of our local businesspeople and get an idea of how things are going for them.

Marlborough has a vibrant, growing economy and that is very much down to the hard work of our local businesspeople and the chamber.

There was very good discussion on education, in particular how students are still falling through the cracks and leaving school without adequate literacy, limiting their future options in our modern society.

Another area of intense interest was the presently tight real estate market in Marlborough and the ongoing impact of the wine industry's expansion plans, exacerbating the issue.

Both are big issues currently - I have written columns in the past on both and no doubt will again, as these issues progress.

But going back to the After 5 gathering, Marlborough Chamber of Commerce general manager Stephen Gullery and I invited participants to bring an item of food each to donate to the Marlborough Food Bank. Stephen and I were very pleased to be able to present a box of food to this worthy community cause.

The volunteers who run both the Marlborough and Picton food banks do a fantastic job helping people who are in need of a helping hand.

These volunteers do far more than just deliver the food parcels; before that happens, they assess the needs and criteria of each family or individual through contact with other social welfare groups. This way, those who need assistance the most are able to receive it.

Of course the Marlborough food bank holds its major annual food drive in November each year, but the fact is that food donations are needed year round.

On a different note, my wife Julie and I attended the Hospice Marlborough fundraising event at Brancott Winery recently.

This was a fantastic event for a very worthy local cause and it was great to see that people were extremely generous, with Hospice Marlborough raising around $200,000 in total. I donated a dinner for four at Bellamy's Restaurant in Parliament, which raised $3200.

As always, it's great to see Marlborough's community spirit alive and well.