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Your Voice – National Space Centre

The latest Your Voice feature, giving LBV members a platform for their views on the current business landscape in Leicester.

Chas Bishop learned his trade at Madame Tussauds and Alton Towers before joining the National Space Centre team in 1999. Alongside his Chief Executive role he is a board member of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), Leicestershire Promotions Ltd and the UK Association for Science & Discovery Centres. If you can’t find him, he’ll be on the golf course.

How would you describe what your business does?

The National Space Centre gets people excited about space! It helps develop the next generation of scientists and engineers through its education and community engagement programmes, and is a world-leading producer and distributor of planetarium shows.

What are the biggest opportunities for your business?

Lockdown has been tough but it has coincided with some major building work which has progressed undisturbed over the past 12 months. Visitors can look forward to some major new additions dedicated to the future of human spaceflight and the health of the planet.

What are the biggest challenges for your business?

Pre-lockdown the National Space Centre had serious capacity issues and consistently turned people away. A new approach with online ticket sales only will help cap numbers, but will people come in their pre-pandemic volumes? Will there be confidence in indoor attractions? When will school and corporate event business return? It may be a bumpy road for some time to come.

What would you identify as the key strengths of Leicester?

The National Space Centre has new neighbours: Space Park Leicester to the north and Dock & Dock 2 to the south; hotbeds of innovation with a particular focus on the health of people and of the planet. This future-facing outlook and the integration of its diverse community offer a compelling narrative for people looking to live, work and invest in the city.

What are the top three ways in which Leicester can develop to support the business community?

  1. Shout louder! Leicester has a great story to tell.
  2. A focus on the climate emergency: support the low carbon sector and help businesses understand their carbon footprint and how to reduce it.
  3. Provide pathways for young people. Get into the community and help get people into our wonderful colleges and universities.

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