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Gabrielle on a mission to boost local economy

Council’s new economic development officer wants to strengthen digital infrastructure

Gabrielle on a mission to boost local economy

Gabrielle Mancini has big plans to help small businesses thrive in her role as West Berkshire Council’s economic development officer (EDO).

Mrs Mancini has been working for the local authority for 19 months and took up her new role in October.

She has a background of producing detailed briefings and drafting policies on a variety of subjects.

She said: “In my role as EDO, I’ll be raising awareness of just how much our wonderful district has to offer and promoting West Berkshire as a great place to live, work and learn.

“Since moving to the area some years ago, I have been absolutely bowled over by the wealth of talent we have here, much of which comes in the form of our almost 9,000 small and medium enterprises.

“West Berkshire really is an amazing place and I am so proud to be part of a team that is contributing to that.

“This is particularly important to me as I live locally and want to make a positive impact on the community in which my two young children are growing up.

“In the coming months, the council will be developing its new Economic Development Strategy to 2036.

"As part of this, the economic development team will be working closely with local businesses to understand what they need from us and how we can make the district ‘open for business’, which is the council’s key strategic priority.

“We will have to consider how we can ensure that the district’s workforce has the skills employers need, what we must do to develop our digital infrastructure and how we can attract a wider age range of people to the area.

“We’ll also be looking at how we can further boost our start-ups, particularly in digital, as this is an area in which West Berkshire is particularly strong.

“This isn’t something we’ll be able to do overnight, but I am confident that, with buy-in from the right partners, we’ll be able to create something that will help to put Newbury and West Berkshire on the map for years to come.

“Integral to this work will be the emerging West Berkshire Community Interest Company, which was announced at the Newbury 2026 Vision Conference in October.

"I hope to work with partners including the Newbury BID, Greenham Trust and Newbury Weekly News to develop the district’s brand and to further enhance our already vibrant district.

“In the New Year I will be particularly focussing on businesses in Hungerford, Thatcham and in the east of the district to see how I can assist them.

“West Berkshire Council marked Small Business Saturday for the first time this year.

“This was absolutely fantastic as we had the opportunity to visit some of our small businesses and get their take on what more we could be doing to support them in a difficult trading environment.

"The campaign itself started in 2013 and has since grown hugely, gaining support from high-profile figures including the Prime Minister.

“Almost £850m was spent in the UK’s small businesses on the day, which just shows how raising awareness through this campaign can make such a big difference to our own small businesses here in West Berkshire.

“At The Newbury pub we saw how Pete Lumber’s creativity has led to the creation of Berkshire Dry Gin and spoke to some members of the Newbury independent business community.

“In Lambourn we learned more about our thriving racing industry.

“In Yattendon, at the West Berkshire Brewery, we saw how a good idea and passion can grow into an amazing, successful business and in Theale we saw how West Berkshire’s compassionate and entrepreneurial people are making a difference to others, not just in their communities, but across the world.

“It was really humbling to be welcomed into all of these businesses and I hope that we’ll be able to mark Small Business Saturday again next year.”

Mrs Mancini can be contacted on 07771 387128 or by emailing gabrielle.mancini@westberks.gov.uk

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