Brilliant Barrow

University-backed 'Brilliant Barrow' project wins £25m funding

An ambitious scheme backed by the University of Cumbria to transform Barrow for future generations has secured £25 million from the government’s Towns Fund. 

#BrilliantBarrow is comprised of a series of innovative projects, including an innovative Barrow Learning Quarter, designed to ensure the borough thrives as a great place to live, work and visit. The funding – from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government – was confirmed today, making Barrow one of the first places in the country to benefit from the scheme.

Councillor Ann Thomson, the leader of Barrow Borough Council, welcomed the news. “This is a pivotal moment for our borough and all those who live and work here. The funding will ensure we are able to move forward into an exciting future through the launch of the innovative new projects identified through #BrilliantBarrow. These projects have the potential to generate long term benefits for our communities through opportunities in further and higher education, regeneration and economic prosperity. I’m delighted the government has recognised our ambitions for Barrow with the award of this funding from the Towns Deal.”

 Cllr Thomson added: “Developing the proposals took a huge amount of hard work and that will continue now with the detailed further work required for us to draw down this cash from the government.”

Steve Cole, chief infrastructure officer at BAE Systems and chair of the Town Deal Board, said: “This is fantastic news and a huge boost for Barrow. An enormous amount of work went into developing these proposals and engaging with the people of Barrow to make sure their voices were heard.

We had fantastic levels of feedback and insight from residents of the town which, alongside the excellent work of the #BrilliantBarrow team, enabled us to put forward a very strong bid.”

The University of Cumbria and Furness College are working in partnership on ambitious plans for the development of the Barrow Learning Quarter which will see the development of a new university campus in the town alongside a skills hub for sixth form students.

University of Cumbria Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) Professor Rob Trimble commented on the announcement today:  “This is excellent news as this is an exciting time for both the university and Barrow.  The Barrow Learning Quarter aims to transform the area for generations to come and we have been working closely with the Brilliant Barrow partnership to develop this pioneering scheme. The new campus will offer University of Cumbria courses and will create a full university presence in Barrow and new higher education opportunities in the town. We now look forward to continuing to work with partners to develop the detailed business case for the project.”

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

A Towns Deal Board was established in the borough earlier this year to bring together representatives from the public, private and voluntary sectors who advised on the development of #BrilliantBarrow. An extensive consultation process took place prior to the submission of the bid to government with residents and stakeholders in the area.

 The seven projects included are designed to help shape development and growth in the town for years to come.

They are:

  • A university-style campus facility offering both further and higher education courses
  • A network of community resilience hubs
  • A programme of bespoke business support provided to residents, entrepreneurs and SMEs to harness economic opportunities in Barrow
  • The development of a calendar of events and festivals to draw people to the area
  • A programme of housing renewal
  • New cycling and walking infrastructure to allow Barrow to become an active travel town
  • Preparations to allow Barrow’s Marina Village to get underway

 Detailed business cases for each of the seven projects will now be developed to unlock the funding.