Blackpool is one of the most deprived towns in the UK. It has more children pro rata in care than anywhere else and has more male suicides.
In inner Blackpool 50% of properties are privately rented, with the area dominated by small flats and bedsits in former guest houses. These flats by the sea attract new residents from cities across the country often running away from uncomfortable situations and attracted to Blackpool because they remember family holidays there and because of the cheap housing.
This is contributing to a vulnerable and transient population with over 80% of tenants receiving Housing Benefit and 40% of landlords receiving rent directly because of tenants’ vulnerability
The Blackpool Pride of Place partnership is a group of people from the business, voluntary and public sectors who have come together to promote economic development and tackle some of the area’s challenges.
Launched in July 2017 following a Prince’s Seeing is Believing visit a local strategic Board was established in September of this year, chaired by Christine Hodgson, chair of Cap Gemini UK, who was born in Blackpool.
The Board includes leaders of local and national businesses, the council, the Local Enterprise Partnership and the voluntary sector. The local team is Baroness (Jo) Valentine, Andy Charles (previously working in Blackpool as a Business Connector) and Stuart Noble, the local Police Chief Superintendent.
A programme of work is now underway with the long-term ambition to increase economic activity, tackle some of the key social issues, reduce pressure on public services and help build a flourishing voluntary sector. The hope is that the Pride of Place partnership will also help attract new investment into Blackpool and provide sustained support and development to make the area a success by drawing on the best of the three sectors to deliver the right solutions.
How will it happen?
- Born and Bred Network – establishing a network of alumni for Blackpool to influence nationally and help drive activity locally, promote funding requests and help find good people to lead activity.
- A Blackpool Responsible Business Network – local businesses committed to making tangible interventions in schools and to develop and support people into work including apprenticeships.
- A Blackpool Social Innovation Campus – creating living accommodation for motivated, skilled young people from Teach First, Police Now and the charity ‘Year Here’ at the same time as bringing new ideas on how to tackle some of Blackpool’s social challenges
- A new tourism strategy for Blackpool – bringing 50 people together from the national and local tourism sector to refresh and turbocharge the tourism offer and vision what it could look like in ten years’ time and identifying what needs to change and what new opportunities there are.
- A Housing Campaign – establishing a group of national housing experts to act as advocates, providing expert scrutiny, reviewing options for large-scale intervention and campaigning to amend the national policy.
- A Business Incubator Hub – supporting local entrepreneurs with business support to help them grow.
As this unique collaboration in Blackpool learns more our hope is to share this learning rapidly elsewhere. As more communities join the Pride of Place programme we will bring them together regularly, so experience and challenges can be shared, and great ideas can be exchanged.