The New Directions fair took place on Friday 27 October at HSDC Alton College, and was an event designed to help people looking to make a change – a new career, a new volunteering challenge or a new skill.

Over 70 exhibitors attended on the day.

There was a full programme of speakers and workshops to help visitors investigate the opportunities available.

The topics were:

  • Back to work – Simon Lanaway, Fedcap
  • Apprenticeships – Sarah Burch, Apprenticeship Advisor
  • Start your own business – Suzanne Noble/Mark Elliott, Start Up School for Seniors
  • Multiply your skills - Rachel Robinson, Hampshire County Council
  • Business volunteering – Ryan Gratrix, GRX Life
  • Interview skills resilience/confidence – Kate Creswick, HSDC Alton 
  • CV writing support – Lisa James, Abri
  • Business on a page – Suzanne Noble/Mark Elliott, Start Up School for Seniors

The event hosted a helicopter simulator, brought along by the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.

Alton Lions kindly marshalled the car park for the event, and Community First provided a free bus to the event from across the East Hampshire district.

Why was it held?

Cllr Rob Mocatta, EHDC Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Prosperity, said: “The pandemic made a lot of people re-evaluate their careers and their role in their communities. This event gave people the chance to see what opportunities are out there and to try something new.”

Damian Hinds, MP for East Hampshire, said: “The opportunity to work in the community you live in – either through paid employment or as a volunteer – makes for better, more cohesive communities.  It can also be hugely beneficial for work/life balance and can reduce our carbon footprints if we are able to travel fewer miles to get to work. 

“I was delighted to see New Directions return for another year, and I hope that the employers and volunteering groups exhibiting gain as much from it as those attending as prospective employees and volunteers.”

If you have any feedback about the day, ideas for future events, or are looking for more information about how EHDC can help you as a business, an employee, or to find a voluntary role please email or visit our business webpage.

Our thanks

EHDC would like to thank all of the organisations, charities, employers and community groups who supported the event: Alton LionsAlton WIBordon Belles WISt John Ambulance and Wey Valley Radio

The event is being paid for by a central government fund called the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which East Hampshire District Council is using to help rural communities build resilience through the opportunities around them.