A STRATEGY aimed at unlocking billions of pounds’ worth of investment in the Solent and creating tens of thousands of jobs will be unveiled in Southampton.

Round-the-world yachtswoman Dee Caffari will speak at the Solent Summit on Wednesday, June 8, at Southampton’s Horizon Cruise Terminal.

The event will see the launch of the Solent Freeport and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) long-term economic strategy, Solent 2050.

Rachael Randall, chair of Solent LEP, said: "As the first woman to have sailed single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions, Dee is the ideal person to articulate the aspiration and ambition we have for the Solent and all those who live and work here.

"Like many coastal communities, the Solent faces challenges in terms of productivity and our Solent 2050 strategy outlines how we will work with partners to level up our region, create jobs, drive innovation and ensure a prosperous economy where communities thrive."

The freeport project, given the go-ahead by chancellor Rishi Sunak last year, is a key component of the Solent 2050 strategy. Supporters say it will unlock billions of pounds' worth of investment, create tens of thousands of new jobs and play a critical role in achieving national levelling up ambitions.

Brian Johnson, chair of Solent Freeport, said: “The Solent Freeport is a once-in-a-generation opportunity which will benefit not only our region but the whole of the UK.

“The Solent’s location makes it the UK’s most important gateway to European and global markets; and establishing a freeport here will accelerate the creation of high-quality employment space, with investment specifically targeted at state-of-the-art growth sectors and ground-breaking approaches to decarbonisation and green innovation."

The summit will allow investors and businesses to find out more about the opportunities available through the freeport and meet the partners.

There will also be a seminar programme for business leaders.

Details are at solentlep.org.uk/solent-summit and people can also attend online.