BITC announces new Chair of Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership

BITC announces new Chair of Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership

Business in the Community (BITC), The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, has today announced that John Fallon has been appointed Chair of BITC’s Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership (Partnership). John Fallon, who is the former CEO of Pearson plc, and now has a portfolio career spanning the worlds of business, education and international development, takes over from Christine Hodgson CBE, Chair of Severn Trent, who has led the Partnership since 2017.

BITC works to create a fairer and greener world driven by fairer and greener businesses. BITC has been working in Blackpool since 2017 and has set out a blueprint to address some of Blackpool’s social challenges and develop its opportunities – the aim being to deliver long-term transformational change. Under Christine’s leadership, the Partnership, in collaboration with Blackpool Council, created the Blackpool Town Prospectus – a 2030 Agenda for Action. The prospectus outlines the collective ambition that BITC, the Council and other stakeholders are working to achieve for the residents, businesses and communities of Blackpool by 2030.

In 2018, the first Blackpool Town Prospectus’ primary ask was to have a Town Deal from the government. A Town Deal was government funding aimed to support delivery of local regeneration plans (as outlined in the prospectus) and in 2021, Blackpool was awarded the largest single Town Deal of £40 million, to realise seven projects in the town. In 2022, Blackpool agreed to a strategic Levelling Up Partnership with the government which has resulted in over £90 million of funding so far.

The priority for the Partnership under the leadership of the new Chair, John Fallon, is to continue creating long-term transformative change in Blackpool. The Partnership plans to continue working with the government through its strategic partnership and to ensure that the government’s commitment to levelling up Blackpool is maintained.

The Partnership will also continue to focus on the delivery of its 2030 objectives, first listed in the 2018 version of the prospectus, which include:

  • establishing the national perception of Blackpool as a location with high potential for business investment
  • restoring local pride
  • creating and safeguarding at least 10,000 jobs and growing the economy by £1 billion through turbocharging tourism and building on other emerging and innovative opportunities
  • tackling the concentration of deprivation in the inner areas of Blackpool and creating 3,000 new homes
  • achieving top quartile employment rates for 16-24-year-olds compared to other Lancashire Local Authorities with a focus on health, wellbeing, resilience and preparedness for work through upskilling and reskilling

John Fallon, new Chair of the Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership, said:

“Blackpool is a very special place and the Partnership’s role is to bring together and support everyone committed to making the town a great place to live and work in, as well as to visit. Great progress has been made during Christine’s tenure, but there is still much to be done. I’m thrilled that Christine will continue to be involved and look forward to working with her and colleagues to build on that momentum.”

Christine Hodgson, Chair of Severn Trent and former Chair of the Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership, said:

“As my time as Chair of the Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership comes to an end, I would like to wish John all the best in the role. Over the past few years, we have seen so much positive change in Blackpool, and I have enjoyed working with those who understand that we all have a part to play in supporting the people of Blackpool. I look forward to supporting the Partnership as it continues to drive positive change in Blackpool. I am delighted to be taking up the role of Life President for the Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership.”

Baroness Jo Valentine, Director of Place at Business in the Community, said:

“Since 2017, BITC has made a long-term commitment to support Blackpool, and I believe that Christine has been instrumental in driving the work that has been done to date. From the hard work of Christine and the Partnership, we have seen Blackpool transform in front of our eyes, and I know John will continue against our objectives to make Blackpool a fairer place to live and work.”

Neil Jack, Chief Executive of Blackpool Council, said:

“I would like to place on record our gratitude to Christine for the tremendous commitment she has shown to all things Blackpool through the Pride of Place Partnership. We are delighted that her involvement will continue in her new capacity as Life President.

“At the same time, I would like to congratulate John on his appointment as the new Chair of the Partnership – we look forward to working with him on our continuing journey to deliver transformational change in Blackpool.”


Notes to editor

  1. Read The 2030 Agenda for Action here.

For further information, please contact Aoife Butler Nolan, Head of Media, Public Affairs and Policy, on 07702 903 216.