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August 2023


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It’s something we’ve all been hearing anecdotally for years, but at last we have the data to prove it: Jersey is suffering from a ‘Bean drain’. 

Figures recently released by Statistics Jersey have shown that more people left the island than arrived between 2019 and 2021 – with most leavers being Jersey-born or long-term islanders. 

They came out little more than a week after a government report said that Jersey may require a population of 150,000 people by 2040 in order to maintain current living standards. 

Naturally, failing to resolve this not only means pressure in the areas of health and education, but also means risking the loss of all the things that make island life vibrant: an abundance of buzzing new businesses, events, and experiences packed onto a sun-soaked patch. 

Several stories in this month’s Connect highlight why that’s so important. 

One of Jersey’s most recognisable businesses, Island Music has had a hand in launching the careers of countless local musicians, nurtured young bands as they get ready to battle, and even fanned the flames of a good few mid-life-crisis collectors’ passions too. 

Now the last of its kind in the Channel Islands, that special business would have never come to be were it not for piano tuner Jonathan Scriven’s decision to roll skills learnt on a three-year apprenticeship at Kemble-Yamaha back to the Rock where he was born. 

Having kept the business in harmony amid high street pressures, he’s now ready to retire. But, fret not – another islander, local rocker Paul Sharkey, has set the stage for a new chapter (Riffs to Retail, P4). 

Meanwhile, in Unplugged (P28), we hear from Jersey’s Head of Maritime Operations, Louise Stafford. A young Gerald Durrell enthusiast who spent her childhood at sea, it was a summer job at Jersey Airport – in-between doing an environmental science degree – that led her to make waves in one of Ports’ most senior positions. Working with a team, her innovative thinking has generated a ‘new’ community space at Albert Pier, is bringing us closer to becoming a ‘Monaco for the UK’, and could see us soon have our first ‘Green Harbour’ at St. Catherine. 

And it was, in part, Jersey’s “sparkling” harbours and bays that attracted star of Channel 4’s ‘Extreme Chocolate Makers’ Evelyn Day to move to the island (No Ordinary Day Job, P34), where she has since poured her sweet-toothed talents into creating cocoa interpretations of Corbière and the White House among other landmarks, which have made their way into islanders’ mouths via markets, hotels and events. 

When homegrown, out-of-the-box thinkers return to invest their skills in Jersey, the whole community wins. This might seem obvious, but, to date, there’s been little in the way of tangible policy to ensure they keep returning. With this latest statistical wake-up call, let’s hope it’s on its way. 

Until then, enjoy Connect.

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