Barrow residents begin innovative journey to shape new vision for the borough
What’s your boldest dream for Barrow?
This thought-provoking question has popped up on a Barrow billboard, in bus shelters and in vacant shop windows across the area this weekend.
Now, residents are being encouraged to call a free phone number – 0800 118 2604 – to share their hopes for their borough in a voicemail as part of Barrow’s New Constellation – a first-of-its-kind creative process to help the community dream and tell a new, transformative story for its future.
Schoolchildren are among those who have already left messages to help their borough become “even more awesome”.
The phone line campaign launched on Sunday as 15 carefully selected residents embarked upon an innovative week-long journey to co-create a new vision for Barrow borough.
The project is being hosted by The New Constellation with acclaimed authors Hilary Cottam and Rob Hopkins.
This adventure into the future has been designed to work fully remotely and be covid-secure, using audio recordings down a phone line as a key tool, as well as group and 1:1 conversations, individual work and reflective exercises, creative workshops, and a few surprises.
It has made possible thanks to support from the National Lottery’s Emerging Futures Fund.
A recent call out to find the ‘crew’ had an overwhelming response, and an inspiring and diverse group has been selected representing all walks of life across the borough – from a local GP, tyre fitter, tour guide and tug skipper to a police superintendent, former mayor and a photographer mum-of-three.
Participant Tom Lowes, 22, a Tech Coordinator and LGBTQ+ Submarines Business Unit Rep at BAE Systems, who also runs his own nail technician business and volunteers for local charities, was nominated three times to be part of the journey.
Tom said: “I was so excited to be selected and can’t wait to see what we come up with.
“This community has been through a lot but this is an amazing opportunity to look forward and help make sure our future reflects the incredible people who live here.”
The borough of Barrow has some big opportunities and key decision making ahead, including £25m funding from central government from the Towns Fund for the #BrilliantBarrow initiative.
Barrow Borough Council has said the voice of the group and community shared through this process can help navigate the borough towards an exciting and bright future ahead.
Sam Plum, Chief Executive of Barrow Borough Council, is herself participating in the process. She described it as a “once in a generation opportunity to change our direction and travel together to a better place.”