BAE Systems confirm £200k contribution to #BrilliantBarrow Community Hub

AN innovative project that forms part of the ambitious #BrilliantBarrow programme is to benefit from a £200,000 contribution from BAE Systems.


#BrilliantBarrow is made up of seven ambitious projects all designed to ensure the area thrives as a great place to live, work and visit now and into the future.


One of these projects will see the creation and launch of a network of Community Wellbeing Hubs across Barrow to provide a home for activities and services for people in all stages of their lives.


Now, additional funding for the town centre hub – to be based in The Forum, on Duke Street – has been confirmed from BAE Systems.


The £200,000 sum will allow significant upgrades to be made to the specification of the project, leading to improved outcomes for all those who go on to use the hub in the future – as well as allowing for the earlier delivery of targets monitoring the project’s long term impact.


Councillor Derek Brook, Barrow Borough Council’s Lead Member for Community, said: “This funding is very welcome and will make a big difference to what can be incorporated into the new community hub at The Forum.


“We know these hubs have the potential to positively impact upon residents from all walks of life and will actively bring people together from across our communities.


“We are very excited about the changed future they will help to secure for so many residents.”


News of the £200,000 contribution to the Community Hub comes just a week after BAE Systems confirmed it has completed the purchase of the former Debenhams building and neighbouring units in Barrow’s Portland Walk.


The Town Centre Community Hub will be used to deliver activities that help to develop people’s skills such as cooking, creating or selling food, to provide digital access through available WiFi and equipment while offering both physical and virtual meeting facilities.


It will also be used as a base to support entrepreneurship and the development of social enterprises, to deliver wellbeing and exercise activities and as a space for friends and families to meet.


Thanks to the contribution from BAE Systems, the Town Centre Community Hub will now include extra elements including a range of additional fixtures and fittings.


Janet Garner, BAE Systems Submarines Head of HR, Skills and Academy Principal, said: “Our contribution to the Community Hub project is a further demonstration of our commitment to the broader social and economic development of the area.


“The project is a key element of the Towns Deal programme, providing a range of opportunities for individuals to develop their skills, qualifications and employment prospects and will also offer a welcoming space for people to meet and develop ideas and projects to create thriving communities.


“We look forward to working together with other local stakeholders to ensure the community hub project achieves its full potential and effective contribution to the other exciting regeneration projects which are taking place.”


Barrow was among 101 towns across the country invited to bid for a share of the government’s £3.6 billion Towns Fund in 2020.


A Town Deal Board was established in the borough to bring together representatives from the public, private and voluntary sectors who advised on the development of the #BrilliantBarrow scheme.


Funding totalling £25 million – the maximum amount available, was confirmed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in 2022 following the submission of business cases which confirmed the positive impact and long lasting benefits the projects will deliver.


Completion of the projects is due by 2026.

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