Johnson Matthey's Royston site supports its Local Enterprise Partnership in a bid to help strengthen the local economy

Investing in the Local Community

A national network of Local Enterprise Partnerships was launched by the coalition government in England in 2011 to foster growth at a local level. Johnson Matthey is a leading business enterprise in Royston, home of its largest global operation and corporate HQ, and is a major force in the county of Hertfordshire as a whole.

So when the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was formed, it was natural that Johnson Matthey should be involved from the start. John Gourd, the Site Planning and Services Director at Royston, accepted a position on the initial board and, subsequently, the role of chairman.

There are now 39 local enterprise partnerships, but Hertfordshire was among the first to be formed, getting the government go ahead in October 2010. Like other LEPs, the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership is a business led partnership between local businesses, academic institutions and local government which aims to boost the local economy and create new jobs. Other major businesses in the county are participating with business leaders from Warner Brothers Studios, Vinci Construction, Glaxo SmithKline and Santander Bank all on the main board. Four programme boards cover Investment and Advocacy, Innovation and Enterprise, Strategic Infrastructure and Skills and Employment.

In May 2012, the LEP approved £11.5 million for four projects, secured through the government mechanism of the Growing Places Fund, and likely to create 4,000 jobs. These projects had stalled in the economic downturn but are now taking off and, on behalf of the Hertfordshire LEP, John Gourd said:

" We are delighted to be able to kick-start them."

In February 2012, the chairs of all 39 LEPs around the country, including John Gourd, were invited to St James's Palace to meet the Prince of Wales and discuss the work of his charity, the Prince's Trust. Prince Charles was keen to understand how the LEPs could work with his charity to help young people, especially in areas of high unemployment.

The participation of Johnson Matthey and John Gourd in the local LEP is an extension of the Royston site's community engagement strategy. An economically strong region is to the benefit of all, both inside and outside the company. The Royston site recognises the importance of playing its part and helping strengthen the local economy and in doing so has contributed to the high corporate reputation that the company has earned.