New routes and new hopes

First up today a reminder about ‘Meet The Neighbours’ on Thursday afternoon – hope you can join us at the campervan!

All over the TQ, the momentum of change seems to be ramping up a gear at the moment.  The apartments are filling up fast.  The Metropolitan College and the Public Records Office look nearly finished.  The signature project – now officially named Titanic Belfast – is rocketing ahead.  The streets are getting busier all the time – today I was asked for directions by some tourists who asked “Where is Titanic?”  (I couldn’t resist answering “At the bottom of the ocean” – but I gave them full directions to the Pump House and all the Titanic sites!)

On Sunday’s Dock Walk, we had the great excitement of walking a whole new route – there’s a new path leading around beside the apartments, looking out over the marina and leading past the Nomadic.  It may sound daft, but for those of us who have been ‘walking the walk’ week by week, there was something thrilling about another new path opening up – a physical symbol of all the progress and change we’ve been watching unfold.

And amidst all this change, there are so many stories of good news. Today I was at the grand official opening of the Premier Inn (although I somehow managed to miss the actual cutting of the ribbon – too busy inside chatting and tucking in to mulled wine and mince pies).  All the speeches mentioned the way in which the Premier Inn had embraced a Back To Work programme in recruiting its staff for the Titanic Quarter branch, opening up positions for those who had been long-term unemployed.  All the stories about the Inn were full of hope and excitement, even in its first few weeks of operation; one snowy night last week all 120 rooms were booked out in the space of an hour when the entire passenger manifest of a cancelled flight arrived from the City Airport!

I’ve said it before – this is a place full of hope.  Of course there are challenges and obstacles – but everyone I’ve been talking to recently, from the top bods at TQ Ltd to the new staff in the hotel, have nothing but optimism and excitement as they look towards 2011.