A CIVIC event in Settle next week will seek to address the challenges faced by the families and communities of the Dales.

Councillor Wendy Hull, chairman of Craven District Council, will host Wednesday’s (October 17) event at Settle Victoria Hall when residents can hear from the keynote speaker, Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire and president of Friends of the Dales.

People will get the chance to put questions to Sir Gary and other speakers, including Mark Corner, chairman of Friends of the Dales, Robert Bellfield, principal of Craven College, Kris Brewster, of Skipton Building Society, and Councillor Carl Lis, chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

Councillor Hull said: “We know there are a number of challenges facing families and communities in the Yorkshire Dales. It’s vital that we protect the Dales and keep them special and vibrant, while ensuring our communities are sustainable for the future. We need to preserve the beauty of our district; but we also need affordable housing, schools and employment for families and young people.

“I would urge residents to come along to this event – we have some fantastic speakers and this is an opportunity to make sure your voice is heard.”

The event is being planned with the Friends of the Dales, Cllr Hull’s nominated charity for the year, and there will also be a walkabout when Cllr Hull will visit a number of Settle businesses.

Mark Corner, chairman of Friends of the Dales, said: “Friends of the Dales is delighted to be Cllr Hull’s nominated charity for the year and we’re looking forward to the special event she has organised. The theme – how to attract and keep young people and families living, working and enjoying the Dales – is of great concern to our charity.

“I’d encourage anyone who can to join us on the walkabout around local businesses and then stay for the ‘Yorkshire High Tea’ in Victoria Hall. There will also be a number of presentations and a speech from our charity’s President, Sir Gary Verity. We are expecting lots of challenging questions from the floor and an active debate.”

The event , at Settle Victoria Hall, will begin at 12 midday and will open with a speech from Sir Gary.There will also be a walkabout which will visit Schofield Hauliers, Ribblesdale Motors, Dalesbred Furniture and Upholstery, and Three Peaks Cycles, before returning to Victoria Hall for refreshments and Yorkshire Tea, and other speakers and debate.

Sir Gary said: “The Yorkshire Dales is well known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant communities, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. I’m very much looking forward to attending this event to discuss how we can ensure that the destination remains appealing to visitors, as well as everyone who lives and works in the area.”