Life On Sheppey.
The Island was once self-sufficient. It had to be in order for the residents to survive. The farmland once supported all the Islanders crops, meat and fuel for their fires, fisherman sailed out of Queenborough to put fresh locally caught seafood on the Islanders tables, retailers made their wares in the back of their shops then sold them out the front and the docks, steel works, chemical and glass factories and related trades kept the Islanders busy with work.
Its proximity to London meant that it was a favorite seaside resort for those looking to get away for short breaks and the beeches along Sheerness, Minster, Warden Bay and Leysdown were packed.
Sheppey was once a thriving place to live; however, over the years it has become more and more reliant upon the mainland. Today the farmland is mainly used to grow rapeseed oil, low-grade wheat and hay and it provides next to nothing in terms of locally grown produce for the Islanders.
The fishing industry has dwindled to all but a hobbyist past time; the larger industrial employers have diminished in size or left The Island. The High Street has suffered like many across the UK and as the population on The Island has expanded, more and more people have had to travel further and further off The Island in search of work.
Listening to the younger generations it is clear to see that there is little hope for the future prospects on The Island, they believe that they have to strive to move off The Island to get a decent further education and prospects of better jobs.
Tourism is still important to The Island and the holiday parks, love them or hate them, almost double the size of the population during peak times of the year bringing cash onto The Island and providing much needed jobs.
The Island still has its heritage; this can never be taken away from it. The importance Sheppey played, in so much of the UK’s history is often overlooked, needless to say it has a fascinating heritage to be proud off.
It still has its natural beauty; tens of thousands of visitors each year enjoy some of the best sites that Kent has to offer. The coastal walks between Minster and Leysdown, the marshes that make up the Isles of Elmley and Harty, the rolling hills around Minster and the beautiful scenes witnessed as the sunsets over by Queenborough harbour.
Sheppey is still home to very talented, creative and intellectual people. Many practice their skills and trades off The Island but there is still a core that continue to work on The Island, which includes skilled crafts people, entrepreneurs, sailors, steel workers, professional service providers, retailers, teachers and hospitality specialists.
We’re on a mission to reinvigorate our local economy, foster enterprise and create jobs, combat rising fuel and energy costs and to repair our islands eco-system.
On The Island today we have the intellect, the skills and the financial resources to turn the fortunes of The Island around. We hope fellow Islanders join us on a journey as we endeavor to revive, reinvent and rejuvenate The Islands economy and its eco-system.
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