The dust is settling, to some degree, after the referendum results were announced. We have a new Prime Minister, the Cabinet has been changed, and now people are left wondering how the result will affect them. So what does all this mean for Thanet?
Unfortunately, the answer is money. A lot less of it.
Between 2000 and 2006, Thanet directly received £26m in EU funding, including: £3.2m for a new electricity sub-station and improved electricity infrastructure to increase capacity and support industrial development within the area; £700,000 for the Thanet Campus Phase 2, with a bias on business and technology; and £1.3m for the Thanet Innovation Centre.
Thanet has also benefited from EU grants worth millions for the High Speed 1 rail link which runs between Margate and London; improved energy efficiency and lighting within Kent schools; investment into nature reserves; Chamber of Commerce, the promotion of business and enterprise, Business Link, and self-employment training for those starting businesses; funding to support and help 5000 'at risk' teenagers across Kent and Medway; English, Maths and IT training to Level 2 for adults who did not achieve qualifications in school; supporting the tourism industry throughout Kent; preserving archaeological heritage and local history; Sure Start centres throughout Thanet; grants for the harbour and refurbishment of the historic arches in Ramsgate, Viking Bay in Broadstairs, the Turner Contemporary and the Creative Quarter in Margate.
As of now, we need to look at how we are going to move forward as a community without financial support like that in the future. Infrastructure, new businesses, arts and culture, coastlines, tourism; somehow we need to continue supporting these areas, as without them Thanet is doomed to slump.
Whatever way I try and write this piece, I cannot offer good news. Both sides, Leave and Remain, have had to acknowledge that the promises made during the referendum campaign were hollow and without substance, and now we all face a new reality together that we have made. The big changes in government are just the start, and so much more is going to happen over the coming months and years it is almost impossible to predict the outcome, other than places like Thanet will once again be side-lined.
We need to pull together to prevent Thanet drifting back into the gloom. This vibrant area is a wonderful place to live, and the positivity and proactivity of the residents will surely prevail, no matter what challenges come our way. Simply put, we need to cast our differences aside and unite to save Thanet.