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School children help shape ambitious #BrilliantBarrow hub for Earnse Bay

3rd June 2021

Barrow Borough Council media release

School pupils across Barrow are helping to shape an ambitious project to create an outdoor community space at beautiful Earnse Bay.

Youngsters at five schools in the borough; Walney School, Greengate Junior School, South Walney Infant and Nursery School, North Walney Nursery and Primary School and Victoria Academy took part in the Earnse Bay Field Development Challenge to help ensure the site on Walney Island goes on to offer programmes and activities that reflect the wants and needs of the community in the future.

The proposed hub forms part of the #BrilliantBarrow initiative - a series of innovative projects to have secured £25 million in funding from the Government’s Towns Fund.

Once constructed, it is hoped the location will host special programmes to promote health and wellbeing, education, sustainability, the environment and green energy from its picturesque coastal location.

Simonetta Tiribocchi, Cumbria County Council Community Development Officer, said: “This is an incredible opportunity so it’s very important to make sure the centre goes on to offer activities that reflect what people in our community actually want and are interested in.

“The surroundings of Earnse Bay are absolutely world class. We want to make sure the design, space available and programme of events reflect that, which is why we are asking our young people for their views and ideas. The feedback so far has been superb and the ideas put forward by the children excellent.”

Earnse Bay sits on Barrow’s coastline and is considered one of the borough’s most incredible natural assets. It offers views of the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man and the mountains of the Lake District.

Earnse Bay outdoor community space would be one of four community hubs in Barrow where local people will be supported to develop skills, access services and come together to build strong and resilient communities following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Inspired by their visit to the site, many of the school pupils created posters and Powerpoint presentations - and even a video - to illustrate their ideas to bring the community together at the location. These included a green classroom, a garden area, a beach school and a wildlife viewing point.

A public consultation on the proposal last year attracted hundreds of responses. A number of workshops have since taken place and information was also made available on a recent visit to Walney by the Harri Bus - a vehicle which promotes health and wellbeing in the heart of communities across the region.

Barrow was one of the first towns in the country to submit a successful Towns Fund bid last year - securing an offer of £25 million from the Government, the maximum amount available.

A detailed business case is being drawn up for the Community Hubs initiative which will be submitted to the Government this autumn.

Councillor Ann Thomson, the leader of Barrow Borough Council and a member of Barrow Towns Deal Board, said: “This particular project is really exciting and one that will bring a huge number of benefits to the whole community.

“Wellbeing, environmental sustainability and protecting our significant wildlife and natural surroundings as well as building resilience for our communities align perfectly with our priorities as a council.

“A huge amount of work is going on behind the scenes to develop a detailed business case for this project to unlock the promised funding from the Government. We all look forward to using the invaluable ideas provided by our residents and young people to bring the Earnse Bay outdoor community space to life.”